Goal is to reach $750,000 by year end
By Judy Reed
The Cedar Springs Public Library has been in the same building—at the corner of Cherry and Second Streets—since 1951. And, according to Library Director Donna Clark, the growing demand for programs and services for patrons of all ages has surpassed the capacity of the existing building for at least 30 years.
“We cannot physically grow our collection beyond the average 22,000 items,” she explained. “We now store 5,000 items in the cloud, representing our eBook and eAudio book collection, shared with other W. MI libraries.” She said that the handicapped rarely try to get in, and families with young children and strollers struggle to get in, as do the elderly or those on crutches.
And once they do, seating consists of 8 chairs around two tables in the adult middle aisle and three over stuffed chairs. Not what you’d expect for a library that had 802 people visit in one day for the opening of the summer reading program earlier this summer.
Over the last 15 years, there have been attempts to begin a fundraising program for a new library. They have started with gusto, only to die out from lack of support. But in recent months there has been a resurgence of support for building a new Cedar Springs Public Library, and a Capital Campaign Committee has been formed to raise money through grants and other local fundraising efforts. The anticipated cost to build the library is approximately $1.75 million dollars.
Committee Chair Nick Andres commented, “To date, nearly $1 million dollars has been raised and/or pledged in one form or another to the construction of the library. With an end in sight, now is the time to raise the remaining construction funds.” He went on to explain the construction funds need to be fully secured prior to requesting bids from contractors.
The Committee has set a goal of raising $750,000 by the end of 2015. The goal is to break ground in the spring of 2016.
About $62,000 was raised at the kickoff campaign dinner last Saturday evening.
Site plans have been updated, design drawings are currently underway and access has been granted by the City for the completion of soil compaction and DEQ soil borings.
Plans are to build a new library at the corner W. Maple and Main Street, behind the current fire barn. The size of the library would increase from 2,016 sq. ft to 9,998 sq. ft. and include a wide range of books and materials; be handicapped-accessible; have separate men’s and women’s bathrooms; additional seating; study rooms for small groups; a children’s library with expanded space for activities, crafts and story time; a young adult/teen area; a multipurpose room for library programs and community use, with a kitchen; a computer lab/classroom for workshops/training; twelve computer workstations; and more.
The capital campaign committee said they are planning several fundraising activities that will be easy and exciting for local residents, businesses and corporations to take part in. Keep watch for these to be announced in the coming weeks.
The Library Capital Campaign Committee is made up of members of the Library Board of Directors, the Friends of the Library, members of the Community Building Development Team and other local citizens and has room for others to serve. To become involved please contact Nick Andres at firstname.lastname@example.org.