A beautiful addition to Talcott Library – well worth the wait


Alice Rice (L) visits with former Talcott Library Director, Bonnie Estrada during the grand re-opening celebration on Nov. 10. Alice and her husband Norm are former Talcott Board members. Estrada was the library director for 17 years before retiring in

It’s been a long wait, but entirely worth it. The Talcott Free Library expansion and renovation is finally complete. After nearly two years, and battling through several obstacles, including Covid, the library addition was formally revealed to the public at a ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening on Wednesday, Nov. 10.

Talcott Free Library was built in 1888, through the generosity of Rockton resident, the Honorable Wait A. Talcott who donated a building he owned to Rockton Township. The donation was made with the stipulation that the building be used as a library and the town would establish a tax to support the library.

In 2009, Rockton resident William Keefer donated $500,000 to expand and modernize the building.

In the meantime, the Rockton community continued to grow. In 2019, the library was again feeling the squeeze and was in need of renovation and additional space.

The library simply ran out of room, but no one liked the idea of tearing down the iconic building and constructing a new one.

In April of 2019, the Talcott Board, led by President Gary Kovanda and Director Megan Gove appealed to the Village of Rockton to approve a referendum asking residents to support a 2.8 % tax increase to help pay for the 1,500 sq. ft. expansion and renovation at a cost of $2 million. The challenge was to make the most of the available space.

The people of Rockton stepped up. The referendum easily passed.

Larson & Larson were hired as General Contractors in May, 2020. That’s when the fund-raising efforts began. Village residents and Friends of Talcott Free Library held many events to raise money.

A lot was needed. Gove and Kovanda put together a list of essentials. Items on the list were: A separate space for teens, children’s programming, three study rooms, new floors and carpeting, ceiling, lighting, painting all the rooms, new furniture, program space, accessible restrooms, desks, computers, a copy machine and fire extinguishers.

The end result is a seamless connection between the old Talcott and the new.

A ribbon-cutting and grand opening was held in celebration of the completion on Wednesday, Nov. 10. Library staff and Board members greeted patrons and visitors eager to get a peek at the transformation.

Before cutting the ceremonial ribbon, Director Gove thanked the library staff and the Board for their patience and dedication. “This staff is the library’s greatest asset,” she said.

Gove was hired as director in 2015, coming to Talcott from Beloit Public Library. She followed the retirement of Bonnie Estrada who served as director for 27 years: 1986-2015.

Kovanda recognized the hard work and diligence put forth by Gove and the library staff through 15 months of construction. “They kept things going, even providing curbside service for patrons through the long months of Covid.”

A ceremonial ribbon-cutting and reception was held at Talcott Library on Wedneday, Nov. 10. Director Megan Gove and Talcott Board President did the honors. They were joined by staff and Board members.
Librarians (L-R) Laura Hielkema, Lisa Jolly, and Talcott Library Director Megan Gove have gone through an expansion and renovation at Talcott Library for nearly 16 months. They were happy to finally celebrate with patrons and the community at the grand opening, Nov. 10.
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