The Carthage Public Library District will receive a $1.2 million Public Library Construction Act grant from the state -- if the community can raise a matching amount by the end of June, 2021. Library Director Amy Gee said they are off to a good start.
“The folks from Prairieland Investment Group donated the land to us for the site. So that’s over $30,000 toward our cost share,” Gee said.
“We’re planning to write some letters and hoping for some major gifts. Maybe someone would like to have a study room named after them or some other naming opportunity.”
Details about the capital campaign can be found on the Carthage Public Library District Foundation page.
Gee said there is also the possibility of putting a bond issue on the ballot in the April election if the fundraising campaign appears to be falling short.
The site is less than a block off the highway at First and Center Streets on the former college campus. “It’s a beautiful campus. Lots of green space, lots of trees. It is actually closer to the primary school and high school than we are now and probably about the same distance from the middle school,” said Gee.
The library is currently located in a former bank on the southwest corner of the downtown square. Gee said it would be expensive to renovate the two-story building and replace the outdated elevator. She said a building consultant and architect felt it would be more cost effective to build a new library all on one level.
“It can be designed to be a library with ease of supervision and taking into account the traffic flow,” Gee said.
She said the new building could include study rooms, a large program room that would be accessible to community groups even when the library is closed, more seating, and more outlets for electronic devices.
Gee said the library still gets used frequently. She said people check out books and DVDs, the library supports literacy and lifelong learning, and it provides free access to wifi and computers.
”It’s a welcoming place for adults or students to gather, to work, to relax. We just want to be able to continue that and provide all those services to our community.”
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