Reed City Library hopes to raise funds for move in two years

REED CITY — When the Reed City Library purchased their new building from Reed City Area Public Schools in August 2010, the board planned to renovate the building and move in this summer.

Recently however, without the funds necessary for the renovation the library extended their current lease for two more years and have increased their efforts to find funding.

The lowest estimate given for the planned renovation of the library is $700,000. The library currently has $36,000 in their construction fund, an accumulation of funds from savings and fundraisers and private donations over the past year and a half.

Library staff have researched more than 50 grants from public and private organizations and applied for those they qualified for. They are currently waiting to hear back from the grant organizations and actively searching for alternate funding sources.

The library was approved for a low-interest loan to cover the cost of the project, but the monthly payment is more than the library could afford.

Library board member Phil Noreen hopes that after the library receives their first grant, other building organizations will follow suit.

“We are optimistic,” said Noreen. “We hope that some of the grants we’ve applied for will come through.”

The building that once served as the St. Philip Neri school, and was more recently used for RCAPS administration, is currently separated into individual offices. Library director Heather Symon said there is no way the library could occupy the building without renovating it.

“We need a much more open area,” Symon said. “Right now it’s broken up into many small rooms and would be a nightmare to try and supervise and not a safe environment for children.”

The original plans included complete renovation of the school as well as a 4,500-square-foot addition on the south side of the building. The estimated cost of the project was more than 2 million dollars.

“Once we started getting some figures, we decided the expansion was not doable at this time,” Noreen said.

Late 2011, the board decided to do away with plans for the addition and focus solely on renovating the building.

“We are definitely looking at being conservative,” Symon said “We’re trying to have a very nice library without being extravagant.”

Without the addition, the new building will still offer the library an additional 2,000-square-feet of space along with more computer area, a larger community room, a larger area for teens, additional parking and an outdoor space for programing that may include a basketball court or community garden.

“We certainly hope we can do this because we feel the community deserves a good library,” Noreen said.

“A nice library makes it a more attractive community for people who are considering moving here,” Symon said.

New electronic readers such as Nook and Kindle are becoming competition for libraries, but Noreen said there is nothing like the real thing.

“It’s kind of like downloading a picture of a donut, then going down to Wright’s Bakery and eating one. It just doesn’t compare,” Noreen said. “To lose a library out of the community would be a great loss.”

The library also is considering offering electronic literature in the near future.

“Libraries are a dynamic institution that have always adapted to the times and have seen many new formats over the years. While a lot of our patrons still prefer traditional print, we are seeing more interest in e-books,” Symon said.

Osceola County Board of Commissioners Chairman Dave Brooks said the county has no current plans for the annex building when the library’s lease is up. If the library moves from the building, he said the space could be utilized to spread out county offices, but the county is in no rush to see the library out of their current facility.

“We welcome them while they are there, but if they want to move to their new facility that’s fine too,” Brooks said.

Noreen said library officials are extremely grateful to the townships that support them and to the Osceola County Board of Commissioners for extending their lease.

The next new facility meeting will be held at 6 p.m. March 26 at the Reed City Public Library. The public is invited to share their input about the project.

Those interested in donating to the project can call the library at (231) 832-2131, participate in an upcoming fundraiser, or stop by the library from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; or from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Library fundraising efforts
  • Touch-a-Truck, June 9, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Reed City Middle School parking lot. The event costs $5 for adults and $1 for children. Participants will have the opportunity to see, touch, interact with and learn about dozens of vehicles such as: fire trucks, motorcycles, cement trucks, police cars, UPS trucks and garbage trucks. Volunteers are needed for the event. Those interested can call the library.
  • Bigbby fundraiser on April 3, May 5 and June 5 from 6 to 9 p.m. Fundraiser vouchers can be picked up at the library and presented at Biggby during the times of the fundraiser and the library will receive a percentage of revenue.
  • Nestle Inn celebrity server breakfast fundraiser on 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 28. The Nestle Inn will donate $2 for every breakfast purchased and tips for that period.
  • Spartan labels and used ink cartridges collected at the library.
  • Piggy bank coin collections at businesses in Reed City.
  • Naming rights information is available for anyone interested in donating a significant amount towards the building.
  • A donor recognition wall that looks like a bookshelf will be placed in the new building with wooden plaques resembling book spines. $100 donors will have an 8 inch plaque, $150 donors will have a 10 inch plaque and $200 donors will have a 12-inch plaque.