Library renovation

The Arapahoe Public Library has begun the process of a renovation/addition project that is being guiding by Arapahoe Library Director, Jennifer Einspahr and the Library Board consisting of Judy Beedle, Tyler Cappel, Jami Garey, Brenda Goshert and Patrick Magorian.

The current 2,880 square foot facility, is home to 19,075 books, 1,768 videos, 27 periodicals and has 858 users and has 6,916 visits annually. The library is busy providing 156 children programs, 21 young adult programs and 44 adult programs every year.

As the programs and functions have increased, a need for changes in the facility has become obvious to Einspahr and the board. The current space sees conflicts when one or more of their programs is being conducted at the same time, narrow spaces between shelves is challenging and the lack of ADA accessibility is also a concern.

Einspahr said, “The Arapahoe Public Library Board has recognized the efforts taken by their predecessors regarding the need for changes to our beautiful but aging building, and with the programs being offered and the potential for growth in our community, the library space needs to reflect these needs.”

The preliminary proposed plans were achieved by Wilkins Architecture of Kearney and Olson Associates of Holdrege.  Einspahr said, “Our board is so pleased that our own Caitlin Snyder, who grew up attending story-time as a child, is the designer of this new space. She has retained what was the original church building and her design has smartly created an additional new space that will be loved by generations to come.”

The proposed plans address the space and accessibility challenges and also includes a 1,720 square foot addition that would be a community room dedicated to activities, a new ADA accessible entry and new accessible restrooms. The project would also include 1,200 square feet of intensive renovations of the current library area.

The cost for the renovation/addition project is $655,257. Einspahr and the board are currently working at many options to fund the project. At this time there are no plans to use tax dollars for this project.

The biggest source of finances for the project could come through a Civic and Community Center Financing Fund (CCCFF) grant. Einspahr and the board have been very busy applying for $375,000 grant. The announcement regarding the grant will be made in April. While waiting, they will continue to work with Olson Associates and Wilkins Architecture Design Planning to finalize the project. Einspahr noted that if they are turned down for the grant will wait and apply again in 2020. 

Einspahr is also pursuing other grants, the goal of the library board is to use fundraising to meet the balance of $280,000 for the renovation/addition project.

Many fundraisers are being planned beginning this weekend.

Along with the many opportunities to help the Arapahoe Public Library board meet their fund raising efforts, interested people may stop at the library and obtain more information. Their tax-tax-deductible gift can officially be recorded and a receipt given. A giving tier is set-up so people’s efforts can be recognized at the gala, and a permanent display of donors will be housed within the renovated library.

The Arapahoe Public Mirror will be publishing more stories on the Arapahoe Public Library and the renovation/addition project.

Read the complete story in this week’s print edition of the Arapahoe Public Mirror.

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