DeKalb Public Library seeks funding for upcoming expansion

By Jordan Birchfield

The DeKalb Public Library announced it will form two groups to assist in receiving a state grant and other funding for its upcoming expansion.

The library announced its plan at the DeKalb Public Library board meeting Feb. 8. The proposed addition would add 48,000 square feet to the building.

“The library now owns the land where the proposed expansion will be located,” said board director Clark Neher.

The two groups will have separate objectives.

“The first group’s objective is to assist the library in receiving the grant and will be comprised of the board directors,” said Library director Dee Coover.

The grant will not cover all of the cost for the expansion.

The state grant will provide only 65 percent of the needed funds, Coover said.

The second group is headed by county board member Ruth Anne Tobias and will seek donations from the community.

“We expect the rest of the money to come through donations to fund the project,” Tobias said.

The library board believes its facilities are too small for a growing DeKalb.

“The building was built in 1931 when DeKalb had a smaller population, and with today’s larger population, a bigger facility is necessary,” Tobias said.

The overall cost of the expansion is expected to be about $20 million, Tobias said.

Coover said the library will be modernized with the new expansion, making it handicapped accessible.

Coover is unsure when construction will begin. The library will know by fall 2012 if it will receive the grant.

Coover was optimistic about the project and said the reaction from the community has also been positive.

The DeKalb Public Library is on the National Register of Historic Buildings, and the original construction was paid for by Jacob Haish, inventor of barbed wire and DeKalb resident, Coover said.

“The DeKalb public library is a wonderful building and we would like it to be here for the next 100 years and beyond,” Coover said.