Library takes fundraising to the public

An artist's rendering of the planned expansion to the DeKalb Public Library.
An artist's rendering of the planned expansion to the DeKalb Public Library.

DeKALB – Ruth Anne Tobias, Mary Beth Van Buer and 11 other volunteers are working diligently to raise funds to expand the DeKalb Public Library while the library still has the opportunity to receive matching funds from the state.

“Before Christmas, the state said that if we can raise $8.5 million by June, then they will match the other half,” said Tobias, a member of the library's Community Fundraising Committee.

Committee members have placed decorated donation jars in all 11 public schools in DeKalb and at the library to raise both money and to raise awareness of the library's plans to add more than 45,000 square feet to the 19,000-square-foot building.

“We wanted the community to be part of the fundraising effort,” Tobias said.

The committee is also planning a Community Treasures Sale from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 4 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 158 N. Fourth St. in DeKalb.

“It is kind of an upscale garage sale,” Van Buer said, adding that the committee is seeking community members to sell their new, barely-used and gently-used antiques and merchandise to benefit the expansion. Sellers will pay $25 to rent table space at the sale. All proceeds will help fund the expansion.

Library officials need to have $15.5 million in the bank by June 30 to take advantage of the state grant to help pay for the expansion to the library at 309 Oak St.

“They don't have any room there and the area where they have to work is unimaginable,” Van Buer said. “They have to share desks and every time they get a new book, they have to throw out an old book.”

People can donate online to the DeKalb Public Library’s expansion campaign through a website that will go live after Monday, March 25.

The DeKalb City Council is expected to vote next week on borrowing $7.5 million to help the library get a state construction grant worth $8.5 million. Library director Dee Coover said she was optimistic about the campaign’s progress so far. 

“Things are coming together very, very well,” she said.

Jillian Duchnowski and David Thomas of the Daily Chronicle contributed to this article.

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