More From the Billings Gazette:
The new Billings Public Library, which will throw open its doors for the first time Monday, probably wouldn’t have been built without the jump-start of a $2 million donation.
An anonymous benefactor, still known only as Mr. Smith, offered the donation in the fall of 2010, specifying that it be spent on hiring an architect to design a new library. His only stipulation was that the library was to be “architecturally significant.”
The two-story, 66,000-square-foot, block-long library at the corner of North Broadway and Sixth Avenue North is striking enough from the outside, with its sheath of steel scrim on the north and south sides, and its huge bank of glass on the east end of the building.
But inside it is more striking still.
The old library, whatever its charms, was a renovated warehouse. The new library was designed by Will Bruder, an architect from Phoenix who had previously won awards for libraries he designed in Arizona and California.
The total cost of the new library will come to just about $20 million. Voters approved a $16 million bond issue to build it, and the library foundation raised $5 million, including Mr. Smith’s $2 million donation.
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