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Next Steps for Building a New Public Library in Carthage

May 19, 2021

The Carthage Public Library District has lined up much of the funding needed to pay for construction of a new building. But fundraising will continue.

“We’re hoping that the individual fundraising can go toward furnishings for the building,” said Library Director Amy Gee.

“We’re encouraging people to participate in the engraved brick and paver project so that they can be a part of the new building.”

During the April 6, 2021 election, the community approved a $1.2 million bond issue to help pay for construction. 358 voters supported the ballot proposal and 333 voters opposed it.

The district will also receive a matching $1.2 million Public Library Construction Act grant from the state. The district had a June 30, 2021 deadline to raise $1.2 million in order to receive the grant, which the referendum allowed it to do.

In addition, as of May 11 the district had raised:

  • $100,000 pledge for naming the meeting room
  • $50,000 for naming one of the study rooms
  • $68,550 through brick and paver donations
  • $3,080 from the sale of raffle tickets
  • $500 on Giving Tuesday

Gee said the original estimated cost was $2,459,000, but she expects that to change.

“With the cost of materials it will probably actually be higher than that but we will not get any additional money from the state,” she said.

Gee said she would like to break ground before the end of the year but she’s not sure that is feasible. It’s also not known when the single-story library will open. She said there is still a good deal of paperwork to do, soil borings must be completed, and final design specifications must be approved.

The library will be built at First and Center Streets on the former Carthage College campus. Prairieland Investment Group donated the land, which is worth an estimated $36,000.

The building will include a community/programming room that will be accessible even when the library is closed. The building will also have two study rooms along with books, computers, and other features associated with a library.

Gee said it will be designed to allow for construction of an addition if the district needs more space in the future.

The community’s library is currently housed in a two-story former bank building on the town square.

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