VERMILION — On Nov. 6, the Ritter Public Library will ask residents to do something has requested only once before in the library’s 88-year history.
The library’s leaders want to expand the building, and they hope taxpayers will pass a bond issue to get it done. The library’s board voted Tuesday night to put a 0.45-mill, 28-year bond issue on the ballot to raise $3.5 million to pay for the expansion project.
The timing is perfect, library spokeswoman Patty Kishman said
The library’s first-ever bond issue, a 0.55-mill building expansion levy passed in 1992, is due to be paid off sometime this year. A new bond issue will not cost voters much more than they already are paying, Kishman said.
“We see this as a unique moment to take action,” she said. “We know more space is what the community wants. We recently performed a survey of the community and found out the public wants to see the collection expanded.”
However, that cannot be done in the library’s current building, which is bursting at the seams.
“Right now, we are using 92 percent of our shelf space,” Kishman said. “If everyone would bring back everything we have out on loan, we would not have enough room to house everything on our shelves.”
If the bond issue passes, the money generated will be used to raze the current library annex, which is actually a former dealership, to the east of the library that was purchased in 2002.
The annex is being used as public meeting space, but Kishman said a recent evaluation by an architect revealed it would be too costly to renovate. In its place, a larger building will be added, giving way to more public meeting space as well as shelf space.
The library has already saved $2 million from previous years’ operating budgets for the expansion.
The library receives state funding, but what it provides wouldn’t cover the cost of an expansion nor does it pay for all the day-to-day operating expenses.
Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.