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'An amazing feeling:' Fundraising goal met for new Galesburg library

A rendering of the new public library in Galesburg that is under construction
A rendering of the new Galesburg Public Library under construction in the 200 block of West Main Street in downtown Galesburg.

Construction on Galesburg’s new 68,000-square foot library in the 200 block of West Main Street is well underway.

Now the project has reached another important milestone with a successful local fundraising campaign.

Three-quarters of the cost of the new building is being covered by a $15.3 million Library Construction Grant from the Illinois State Library.

But the rest had to come from local dollars.

“Our initial goal was $3.75 million. We actually exceeded that goal with over $4 million,” said Heather Sipes, Executive Director of the Galesburg Public Library Foundation.

Sipes said the foundation worked with a capital campaign consultant, then formed a local campaign committee that asked local people, businesses, and organizations to support the library – and the building project.

“It has been amazing to see our community come together to support this project and the expanded services the new facility will bring to the community,” she said.

The funds raised include a $775,000 commitment from the city of Galesburg.

The completion of fundraising for the project marks the end of years of work to replace the current library on Simmons Street, which was built in 1961 as a temporary replacement after the city’s original Carnegie library burned.

“This amount of money had not been raised to date here in Galesburg. So to be able to reach that goal, to have so much community support for a new library, is just an amazing feeling,” Sipes said.

Construction on the new library is expected to be done in early 2024.

The new building takes up an entire city block and will significantly expand the library’s collection by more than 30,000 items.

It also will have a skills lab, more computers for patron use, setups for remote work and conferencing, a community room, and expanded areas for children and teens.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Jane Carlson is TSPR's regional reporter.