MENDON, Ill. – A long-term plan developed shortly after Jill Lucey began leading the Four Star Public Library District in 2000 called for the addition of a program / meeting room at the Mendon facility.
“We have saved in a special reserve fund for at least 18 years,” Lucey said.
With a federal grant and loan announced this month, combined with savings from the Library District, plans are to lead the way this spring on the $ 400,000 project.
The addition of approximately 1,800 square feet on the south side of the library will provide the new space needed to serve library patrons and the community.
Lucey said the addition will house the local history section of the library and provide a kitchenette, a much larger storage closet, additional restrooms and a small patio for outdoor programming.
“Our current building is approximately 2,700 square feet and is fairly full of shelving. This will provide space for programs and meetings, ”said Lucey. “It will allow enough room to comfortably accommodate 50 people for a meeting or program. “
The library had set aside almost half the cost of the expansion project, but the $ 90,000 grant and a low-interest loan for the remainder through the Community Facilities Loans and Grants program. from the US Department of Agriculture “made all the difference,” Lucey said. “Without that, we wouldn’t have been able to do it. “
The grant and loan are part of USDA Rural Development’s $ 222 million investment to build and improve essential community facilities in 44 states, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico.
The 536 projects target essential community services that will help maintain rural America’s resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, including $ 132 million to support health care, food security and emergency response services. ’emergency.
Klingner and Associates designed the program / meeting room, Lucey said, and the Library District will be soliciting construction bids soon.
“Our library offers a variety of programs for all ages,” said Lucey. “We always need space. We move the tables, reserve the kiosks just to host our programs.
Plans call for adding technology, such as laptops, to the new space.
“We’re going to add a smart screen so that we can use it with laptops and projectors,” Lucey said.