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McDonough Co. Libraries Secure Money For Improvements

The Macomb Public Library and the Colchester District Library are receiving state funds for renovations and expansion.

Macomb Public Library

Renovations are already underway at the Carnegie library on Lafayette Street built in 1904. The updates will more than double the size of the library and will include a security system, elevator and bathrooms.

The next step is to knock down the attached children’s library and build a two-story addition.

Library Director Dennis Danowski said the addition will include a remodeled children’s area, community meeting rooms and technology center.   

Danowski says the work should be completed by the end of the year and the library remains open during construction.

Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White says the Macomb Library was responsible for raising a quarter of the cost, $794,024,  in order to secure state funding for the project.

“We are giving them some tools to expand the library and make it handicap accessible," said White. "And making sure there’s a place for our young people to become educated and better informed.”

The state grant money comes from a $50 million fund dedicated to capital improvements at public libraries throughout Illinois. The money was approved by the legislature in 2009.  

White says the state money is being distributed as local libraries are able to raise their portion of project costs.

Colchester District Library

Jesse White awarded $35,000 in state grant money for exterior improvements for the Colchester Library. That building is 125 years old and has previously served as the town's city hall, jail and firehouse. It even has it's original foundation.

The state money be used to pay for repairs to that foundation.

"During the summer months, it's important for us to get these dollars to them in a timely manner so the construction that must take place can be done in good weather," White said. "It's tough and it increases the price when you do it in the cold weather."

The Colchester Library was not responsible for raising any funds for the project. Work will begin later this summer and wrap up next spring.

Emily Boyer is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.