Benoit's Barnwood donates time and materials for library project

Jess Bengtson
Crookston Times

    A local reclaimed barn wood dealer found a way to give back to the Crookston Public Library after he says he owes them for the education he received learning about the skills he has today. Jason Benoit, carpenter and owner of Benoit’s Barnwood, recently donated time, labor and materials to complete the library’s canopy entry after first covering a deteriorating brick wall. The library’s budget only allowed for so much work to be done and, after a visit with Library Director Chris Boike about her vision for the exterior of the building, Benoit stepped in to finish the job. The entire overhead area in the entry was done in wood reclaimed from a collapsing barn in Polk County, Benoit told the Times.

    “Chris and I visited about her vision and possibilities of covering the deteriorated brick wall and she liked my ideas and we seemed to be on the same page, so she kind of turned me loose to make my vision and hers a reality,” Benoit explained. “The budget only allowed for so much to be done, but we really wanted to complete the vision so I decided to complete the ceiling of the entry area and donate my time, labor and materials to pay it back, in a way, to the library for what it did for my family and myself.”

    “My grandpa spent a lot of time at the library as did my dad, reading, learning, and using the resources there to learn what was needed and then some,” he continued. “So, needless to say, when I started getting curious about all things I was sent to the library to educate myself and spent a fair amount of time there learning the beginning of most of the skills I have today.”

    “Dad said to me ‘If I tell you how to do it you’ll forget, but if you go find out yourself you will not forget it’,” Benoit added.

    Boike told the Times that Benoit’s work really complimented both the entry and library sign, plus she hopes for new exterior lighting to make it shine.

    “I feel it’s an art form what he did, I think it looks so cool,” Boike boasted. “We also have barn wood benches and planters there that were put in while we were doing some remodel work in July.”

    “Everything that’s been done looks real great,” she added. “We are so grateful for what he’s done and the donated time and materials.”

The Crookston Public Library sign framed in barn wood
Barn wood planter
A closer look at the barn wood in the entry
Another view of the canopy
Canopy entry in barn wood
Crookston Public Library's new barn wood framed sign