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Carthage believes in a new library

Rising construction costs have delayed plans for a new public library in Carthage, but fundraising efforts are moving ahead full-steam.

Library Director Amy Gee said a local donor pledged $100,000 for the project if the community could raise that much.

“So we put together a ‘Believe in the New Library’ campaign,” Gee said. “We were able to meet the match. We ended up getting a little more than that.”

The community raised $105,570 for the match to match the donor’s gift.

Rising costs

The project was awarded a construction grant from the Illinois State Library several years ago, and the community approved a bond referendum to supplement that.

At that time, the estimated cost for a new one-story building with a large community room was $2.5 million.

But when the project went out for bid in 2022, the bids came back at $5 million.

Gee said they couldn’t accept those bids. But they’ve been ramping up fundraising while working with the architect to get costs down.

“We’re trying to make changes to the building that won’t affect services – cosmetic-type changes to the building,” she said. “We’re really working to get the costs down to what we think will come in under $4 million for the bid.”

The library has to raise about half of the funds locally for the project.

Bobbofest this weekend

This Sunday, May 26, people will have another chance to support the library, with live music and other events at Bobbofest at Lake Linda.

“This is an annual event but this is the first year the library is partnering with them. Half of the proceeds will go to the library project,” Gee said.

The other half will go to HUGS of Hancock County.

Bobbofest will feature children’s activities from 1 to 5 p.m. The library board is providing and supervising a bounce house. Other activities include face painting, sand and water stations, a treasure hunt, and more.

Jim Gill will perform a musical program for children at 2 p.m.

Donations to the library can be made to the Carthage District Library Foundation,

For more information, contact the library at (217) 357-3232, or email

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from 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.