Galesburg Plans For New Library - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Galesburg Plans For New Library

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After seven years of planning, residents in Galesburg may finally get a new library. The city's original library burned down in 1958. At the time, they moved into a temporary building, and they've been there ever since.  

They've been trying to move the library into a new building, but at an estimated price tag of $15 to 20 million dollars, that wasn't easy. 

Now with a new director and a plan to pay for it, a new library may be on the horizon.  

"We're just cramped on space, we don't have space here, it's too small," Galesburg Resident John Rucinski says.

The need for more room is a common complaint among library patrons and employees. 

"We need more room for more materials," Mitzi Enloe adds.  

More space for materials, but also more quiet study rooms and more meeting spaces.  

"Weekly we turn people away, we just can't fulfill their needs," Library Director Harriett Zipfel says.

The building is also over 50 years old.

"It was built as cheaply as possible because they felt it was a temporary building," Zipfel says. 

It also has a lot of structural issues; it was not built for the long term or to meet disability standards. 

"If someone were to come in and grade us on ADA (American Disabilities Act) accessibility, we would probably not do very well," Zipfel says. 

"Our second floor is held up by the support of the shelving, the aisles are narrow in our stacks area, the ceilings are very low," she says of the long list of structural issues.

 "We had to put these rods in between these stacks to stabilize them so they would not fall over, and you can see there we have water leaking into the building from the windows," she adds. 

Funding delayed plans for a new library. Now a state grant could be a big help, possibly paying for two thirds of the price.      

Even if they don't get the grant, library heads plan to move forward anyway, planning to pay for the project by selling bonds and fundraising.  

"We just can't keep putting this off," Zipfel says, "Our residents have needs to fulfill and we just need to go ahead." 

The library's board of trustees is currently taking applications for an architectural firm and a project construction manager. They plan to apply for the state grant in April.