The original library structure was built in 1954 as a result of the support of students, faculty, the Evangelical Lutheran Church and Sioux Falls community. The library was named in memory of Amund Mikkelsen, the “pioneer president” of the Lutheran Normal School (Sneen). In 1980, the library was doubled in size with an addition.
The library celebrated 50 years in 2004 with a display, "Femti!", of photographs from the construction and dedication of the original library structure.
from Sneen, D. (1985). Through Trials and Triumphs: A History of Augustana College. The Center for Western Studies: Sioux Falls, SD.
An anonymous gift of $6 million in 2007 launched the renovation of Augustana College’s Mikkelsen Library. In a brief statement, our generous anonymous donors said: “This gift is given to honor the goodness and glory of God, and in gratitude for Augustana College and its journey to become a premiere college of the church in America. It is a joy to make this gift at such an exciting time for Augustana.” Many gifts from numerous other friends and supporters of the college, including members of the Augustana Library Associates, were critical to the completion of the library’s renovation project.
The library was originally constructed in 1954 and more than doubled in 1980 with a three-story addition. Working with the architectural and engineering professionals of TSP and the construction managers of Henry Carlson, the Augustana team of administrators, faculty, students, friends, and librarians conceived a renovated building that would provide state-of-the art space for the campus now and into the future.
The $7.4 million renovation incorporated the latest technology with numerous group and quiet study areas. The project included a video production and editing suite, flexible library instruction classrooms, increased natural light, a glass stair tower, enhanced areas for collections, and gathering spots around a fireplace. The library renovation also accommodated a joint effort with Sioux Falls Seminary to merge its theological collection into the Augustana library.
The official beginning of our project was a public Ground Blessing Service in April 2008. Because we were renovating and not building new or even adding space, the ground blessing was conceived as an alternative to a more traditional ground breaking ceremony. The Augustana Brass Choir filled the spring air with the warmth of their music. Speakers included Augustana President Rob Oliver, Campus Pastor Paul Rohde, faculty representative Dr. William Swart (Sociology), Mikkelsen Library Director Ronelle Thompson, and students Collin Taphorn and Katelyn Ahlers. Donors, students, faculty, friends, architects, and construction representatives were invited to join together to ask God’s blessing as the renovation got underway. More photos are available at Flickr.
The library staff spent the spring of 2008 preparing for the beginning of renovation. The decision was made to close the original 1954 structure during the summer of 2008 to allow the Henry Carlson construction crews unfettered access. Collections and staff were relocated (several times!) as the renovation progressed.
Photos depicting the progression of the summer's renovation are available on Flickr.
In April 2009, one year after beginning with a service of blessing, the official celebration of the renovation completion was held in the library. The program featured a performance by Collegiate Choir singing from the balcony, a reading of the commissioned poem, The Library of the Mind, by Dr. Patrick Hicks, and a special dedication by the Campus Pastor Paul Rohde. Augustana President Rob Oliver, Augustana Board of Trustees Chair Lowell Stortz, Mikkelsen Library Director Ronelle Thompson, and student Ashley Brewers also participated in the service. A reception and tours of the facility followed with members of the Augustana Library Associates board serving as hostesses for the celebration.
A plaque with the inscription, “Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone the Glory,” greets visitors in the front entry and recognizes the generous gift from our anonymous donors.
Photos of the celebration are available on Flickr.
In January 2010, the library celebrated the installation of a set of three wood reliefs -- Knowledge (walnut), Inspiration (mahogany), and Understanding (maple) -- created by John Henry Peters ('76), member of the Augustana art faculty.
The library is grateful to Elizabeth Balcer for the generous gift in memory of her husband, Charles Balcer, which made this art commission possible. Charles was Augustana President from 1965-1980 during which time John Peters was an Augustana student. While a student, John's work study job was in the library.