Matanuska-Susitna Borough

New Sutton Library taking shape

Mat-Su | Patty Sullivan | Sunday, June 06, 2010

Deputy Mayor Woods made the project one of her priorities and made that known to lawmakers every trip she took to Juneau.

“The project means so much to so many people. The Library is the heart of our community and a resource for many who live along the Glenn Highway. We are very grateful and can't wait to break ground,” Woods said.

Nancy Bertels is the Sutton Librarian and also a member of The Alaska Library Association. “The Alaska Library Association has been really instrumental in getting this library funding and making sure that Gov. Parnell understood that in the scheme of things this amount of money was very small, while it does so much in the communities it serves,” Bertels said. Five other communities will join Sutton in receiving funding for new library construction: Seward, Cordova, Sutton, Petersburg, Barrow, and Kenai.

The community has been working to raise the Sutton library roof for seven years, Woods said. Locals did the footwork. They garnered support from the Community Council, completed a development plan with the Foraker Group, researched other similar community library construction projects, held fundraisers such as wine tastings, ebay auctions, book bag sales, among others. In all, library supporters raised $25,000 and gained a clarity of purpose.

The new library is estimated to be about 5,000 square feet, more than doubling the present library at 2,400 square feet. “We host so many events that aren’t really typical for a library,” Bertels said. “We hold our community council meetings here, flu shot clinics, and typical library activities. Generally all we could do is one event at a time while the demand is for more.”

The new library will move adjacent to the Alpine Historical Park near the U.S. Post Office.

The project is estimated to cost $3.2 million, Bertels said. Among contributors, is the MAT-SU Health Foundation for $125,000.

“We’re almost there. We’re hoping to construct next summer,” Bertels said.

For more information call Nancy Bertels at 745-4467.