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Glass mobile at Riverside library honors memory of Margaret Andersen

Published: Friday, June 14, 2013 8:00 p.m. CDT
(Jerry Moore - jmoore@shawmedia.com)
Louise Wimmer speaks about her close association with Frances and Michael Higgins, who founded Higgins Glass Studio, and Margaret Andersen, a longtime RIverside resident. Members of Andersen's family donated a glass mobile to the Riverside Public Library that was created by Higgins Glass Studio, which Wimmer runs with her son, Jonathan.

RIVERSIDE – A colorful mobile now prominently displayed inside the Riverside Public Library serves as a visual reminder of the strong bond that two families have had with each other and the community.

Library officials held a ceremony June 10 to unveil the mobile, created by Higgins Glass Studio, and dedicated it to the memory of Margaret Andersen. Members of Andersen's family donated the mobile to the library and attended the event with the proprietors of Higgins Glass Studio.

"It's beautiful; it's just gorgeous. We're so delighted with it, yes. I haven't seen it yet because I'm waiting until 7:30," said Joan Andersen Schmidt, Margaret Andersen's daughter, referencing the official time set for the unveiling. "I saw it over at Higgins when it wasn't quite finished, and I thought it was just outstanding."

Hanging above the staircase to the library's lower level, the mobile catches the light coming from the sky roof overhead during the day. It represents the renowned craftsmanship of Higgins Glass Studio, which has made Riverside its home since 1966.Andersen died last year at the age of 91. She had a close association with the library as well as with Higgins Glass Studio.

"I knew her for a long time," said Louise Wimmer, who runs Higgins Glass Studio with her son, Jonathan. "She was just a sweet person and a friend. ... So to do this for her and the library is just unbelievable."

Members of Andersen's family wanted to memorialize her in a way that would benefit the library she adored in the community she loved. Given her friendship with the Higgins and the Wimmer families, donating a mobile from the company seemed like an obvious choice.

"She loved the library, and she was always a donor. She always believed in coming to the library instead of buying a book," Schmidt said. "And she loved Higgins Glass, so it's such a marriage. It's just lovely, and we're delighted that it was something like this instead of any other thing we could have chosen."

Janice Fisher, director of the Riverside Public Library, said Andersen was an avid supporter of the library. The addition of the mobile to the library was a tremendous gesture, she said.

Fran and Michael Higgins also promoted the library, Fisher said. Michael Higgins helped develop the Frederick Olmsted Collection at the library, where many of Olmsted's papers are on microfilm, she said.

"When Louise [Wimmer] brought up Fran and Michael in her comments during the presentation, that got everyone a little teary," Fisher said. "People's reaction to the mobile has been, 'Oh my God; it's beautiful. Is it ours to keep?' Everyone is just awestruck when they see it. And the spot it's in is perfect. It's like that spot has been waiting for the mobile all this time."

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