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Big Campaign Push by Macomb Public Library

Rich Egger

Money from Andrew Carnegie helped build the Macomb Public Library building more than 100 years ago. Now the library board is asking you for money so the building might last another 100 years.

A fundraising effort called “Campaign for the Future” is being launched to build an addition. An old building was connected to the library years ago to provide more space but Board President George Wanamaker said it is insufficient.

“It was originally a Singer Sewing Machine store when I was a kid and then it was a bar in the ‘60s or 70s,” Wanamaker said. “It is not a solid building.  It doesn’t have a foundation under it so we have to tear it down to be able to go with a two-story structure and use our space more adequately.”

Credit Rich Egger
The library today. The old building connected to the library is to the left.

Wanamaker said more space is needed for children’s programs, additional public computers, books, and more. He said children sometimes must be turned away from library programs because of the lack of space.

The library has been awarded a $2.3 million state grant that would cover 75% of the cost of building the addition. But it will only receive the money if $794,025 can be raised through the local campaign by June 30, 2013.

Wanamaker said the board will not raise taxes to cover the local share. He said the board will have to re-evaluate its plans if the campaign comes up short, but he’s confident it will be a success.

“We feel like we have a real good chance of raising the money to get this project done,” Wanamaker said.

Supporters will host an open house at the library on Sunday, October 14, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm to share information about the building plans and to give tours of the library.

The capital campaign will be led by Melissa Inman and Judy Kerr. Like Wanamaker, they are confident the community will rise to the occasion and help the library meet the fundraising goal despite the time restriction.

“It’s exciting to have a goal and a little bit of pressure,” Inman said.

Kerr added, “I don’t think it would be important to have more time than that. If we can’t do it by June, we probably couldn’t do it.”

Both believe they will be making a lot of face-to-face appeals to residents and corporate leaders. They plan to emphasize the history of the building and its connection to Carnegie as well as its important place in the community today.

“The library is a symbol to the whole community of our intellectual standing, our interest in children, our interest in keeping up with the changes in the world, and I think for our community it’s a center of great importance. I think everyone will agree on that and hopefully come forth with help,” Kerr said.

A campaign brochure indicates pledges may be made over a 1, 2, or 3 year period, though Wanamaker said the library will need to have the $794,025 in-hand in order to receive the state grant.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.