Lewisburg, Pa. – Union County businesses and residents showed a tremendous outpouring of support for the Public Library for Union County during the ReImagine, ReFresh, RePurpose Capital Campaign, contributing over $900,000. The community will soon have a more comfortable, convenient, and safe library space to enjoy as a result.
The library's $1.75 million expansion and renovation project is nearly complete. The 1,100 sq. ft. addition to the south front of the building and renovations of existing space are creating a new Children’s Library, including children’s collections, programming space, a family restroom, storage, a service desk, and seating areas where adults and children can sit and work together.
Materials for adult patrons including magazines and newspapers, large print books, DVDs, and books on CD are conveniently relocated near the main entrance. Throughout the library, new seating, tables, outlets, and counters will facilitate work, technology use, and collaboration – all within current social distancing guidelines. A reconfigured check-out desk will maximize space and adapt to changing methods of providing services.
The library began work on the project and the fundraising campaign last fall after receiving nearly half of the project costs through grant funding. A $750,000 competitive grant from the Keystone Recreation, Parks and Conservation Fund and another $100,000 grant from the Donald B. and Dorothy Stabler Foundation both required a dollar-for-dollar match. The library set the goal to raise $900,000 to secure the local match and the additional funding needed to complete the project.
“Our Library board knew that if we wanted to go to the community for support, we needed to give first,” said Don Adams, Board and Campaign Cabinet Chair.
“Every board and campaign cabinet member contributed,” noted Roberta Greene, Director.
“From there, we had several major donors take the lead – local businesses and individuals -- making gifts from $5000 - $100,000,” continued Greene.
“We are thrilled to be financial supporters of the Public Library for Union County. We view our financial contribution not as a donation, but as an investment in our community,” said Jared A. Sholley of Sholley Insurance Agency.
“In March, we sought general community member support to reach the final goal. At the beginning of March, we still needed nearly $125,000 to reach our goal. We know how hard these times have been for people. This is a large sum. but we remained optimistic. I am truly overwhelmed by the generosity we have seen,” said Adams.
“When I was asked to contribute to the Capital Campaign, I thought about the smiles I see on children’s faces as they leave the library with a handful of books to explore and the new experiences they are exposed to through the programs. My answer was yes,” said Kathy K. Swope, past board president of the Lewisburg Area School District. “[Libraries] make a difference in the education of children in our community.”
“The Love of reading made it possible to be the first member of my family to go to college. Having a fine community library such as ours available, will give many other young people in our town that chance," said Betty Steffensen, Lewisburg resident.
As of March 31, library raised $909,735.
“We went into the project conservatively, and reduced a few expenses to maintain the $1.75 million budget,” notes Adams. “Any funds raised over our $900,000 goal will be directed toward furniture purchases that we reduced. We can also revisit lighting improvements that were removed from the project. Gifts to the campaign are still encouraged and will be put to good use.”
The library is awaiting delivery of final materials to complete the project. It plans to reopen in early summer and will host a socially-distanced community celebration during warm weather.
“I hear stories every day about how the Public Library for Union County makes a real difference in our community,” notes Greene. “People use words like ‘lifeline’ and ‘important’ and ‘essential’ when they talk about the library. The generous financial support for this campaign demonstrates that. I’m delighted that the Public Library of Union County is positioned to meet the needs of our community well into the future, thanks to our supporters!”