MISSOULA — With a nod to the Missoula Valley's cultural history, and an explanation of the inventive fund-raising that made the project possible, hundreds gather today to mark the official opening of the new Missoula Public Library.
It was the largest gathering of Missoula community leaders since the pandemic this afternoon, as government, tribal, community and tribal officials gathered to officially open the library.
While library staff occupied the building last August, COVID-19 kept the public out until May. But Wednesday was about celebration, not COVID, as the many partners that made the library possible were acknowledged.
That included major contributors, but also the many organizations that came together to make the new facility far more than just a replacement library.
"There's a lot of talk these days about investing in infrastructure. Without a doubt, this is bonafide infrastructure. But it is not just the mortar, it's not just the concrete, the glass, the walls that make this facility. It is infrastructure of democracy. It is infrastructure of the soul of this place. It's at the heart of who we are and what defines us as a community here in Missoula, Montana. In Missoula County, Montana. And I would say this facility is truly a flagship for the entire region." - Missoula County Commissioner Dave Strohmaier
Following the ribbon cutting, individuals and families flocked into the new building, enjoying guided tours, cooking and science demonstrations and checking out books.