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  98th General Assembly | 70th Legislative District
DEKALB…..The DeKalb Public Library has been selected to participate in a $50 million Illinois Public Library Construction Grant program announces State Representative Bob Pritchard.  “The library is entitled to an $8.5 million grant if they secure funding for the local share of their project and meet other requirements set out in guidelines by the Illinois State Library,” he explained.  DeKalb was one of 47 Illinois public libraries with construction projects totaling more than $112 million that applied for the grant program Pritchard said.  “Each application was thoroughly reviewed, scored and ranked as prescribed by the Illinois Administrative Rules,” he added. 

“In its request for state funding assistance, the DeKalb Library outlined remodeling and new construction totaling $25 million, Pritchard said.  “The state grant will allow the library board to begin their construction in phases to reach the expanded facility envisioned for the community.”  

The legislator continued “Jobs will be created during the construction and renovation phase, citizens can use the expanded tools of the library to find jobs, and the community will have a modern library that helps attract new businesses and better serves citizens’ needs.”

President of the Library Board of Trustees Clark Neher agreed that a modern, vibrant library is an important asset for economic development.  He added “Corporations want to be in cities where the schools, parks, medical and safety facilities, and libraries are first-rate so that their employees have access to these important quality-of-life features.”   Neher was particularly thrilled that the state recognized that the DeKalb Library has successfully carried out its long-term mission to inform, educate, entertain, and inspire the people of DeKalb.” 

He said “This success began when DeKalb was just 8,000 persons.  Now the town comprises 45,000 persons, with a population considerably different from the 1930s when the Library was built.” The State of Illinois has given us an opportunity to bring our library into the 21st century Neher noted.  “Since the 1970s, the DeKalb Public Library has engaged several consultants and architectural firms to determine the library services our citizens want and need,” he continued.  The Board President said “All of the consultants concluded that the beautiful and historic 1930 building cannot be remediated into a 21st century building. 

They recommend that the Library’s physical space be increased from the present 19,000 square feet to 60,000 square feet which would allow for increasing the Library’s holdings, programming initiatives, and physical space for such things as computer labs and children story readings.”  The Board still affirms the space need but realistically understands that in these economic times the construction must be completed in phases, Neher continued.  “We will be working with our architectural firm and building consultant as well as the city and community to determine priorities and funding opportunities before the June 1 deadline for the state grant.”

Dee Coover, Director of the DeKalb Public Library, said selection to participate in the state grant program validates the community’s need for an expanded library and all the planning and actions that have been taken thus far.  “The prospects of this grant encourage us to move forward quickly with local fundraising and further planning to correct many shortcomings that are evident at our current building.”  “The present library can no longer adequately meet the technological needs of the citizens or accessibility for those with physical limitations,” she said.  “Our space restrictions are at a point today where with every new book added, we must remove a book.”  The library is in high demand with nearly a thousand persons entering the library's doors every business day.”

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State Representative Robert W. Pritchard
2600 DeKalb Ave.
Sycamore, IL 60178

815.748.3494 - phone
815.748.4630 - fax
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