Troy library seeks public support

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Features Editor

Think big. Plan big, then seek the support needed to make those hopes and dreams come true.

That is the thinking behind the Friends of the Troy Public Library.

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The "Friends" are spearheading a drive to gain local support and funding for the Troy Public Library/Friends of the Library Fund which will help generate the needed capital for a new library facility.

At a meeting Monday,

Margaret Stewart, library director, told board members, "Friends" and representatives from the city of Troy that due to overwhelming growth of the library and the increased number of cardholders (10,000) additional space is need for continued growth.

"We are fortunate that so many citizens have taken advantage of our services in the existing facility," Stewart said. "We have been in this building for seven years and we really outgrew it in the first year."

The library building is 14,000 square feet and Stewart said to meet minimum state and national standards and to accommodate projected growth in the next 20 years, the facility should be at least 32,000 square feet.

"Our children’s summer programs have grown to the point that we cannot meet here at the library," she said. "We have to meet at the East Central Mental Health building. The children have to cross the street to get there and that means having a policeman on hand. We need a meeting room that would serve our patrons and the community."

In addition, Stewart said more space is needed for public computer work stations, as well as shelving to alleviate overcrowding and to allow handicapped access.

"We also need additional table and seating space for researchers," Stewart said, adding that between April 26 and June 19 there were 197 genealogy visitors to the library. "That is about average for that period of time."

In seeking the best solution for present and future use of the library, it has been determined that it would be more costly to make additions to the present facility than it would to build a new one.

"We have made wonderful progress and we desperately need a new library," Stewart said.

In working toward that end, the library is aggressively seeking funding through grants and partnerships with the private sector as well as governmental agencies.

With the assistance of significant private donations, which would provide match money, the library would be eligible for additional grants.

"Friends" contributed $1,000 as seed money in the area of private donations. To date,

contributions between $2 and $100 have grown that seed to $2,166.56. A private donation of $26,000, through a will, is pushing private donations near $30,000.

Stewart said every penny donated to the building fund will make the dream of a new library for the people of the Troy area a reality.

Jason Reeves, city councilman and representative on the library board, said the city is looking at possible sites for a new facility.

However, Reeves said governmental agencies want to help those who help themselves.

"We need to show that this is a grassroots effort and what we are doing to help ourselves," Reeves said.

Anyone who would like to be a part of this grassroots movement to build a bigger and better public library in Troy is encouraged to support the dream with dimes and dollars. All donations are tax deductible.

Checks should be made payable to Troy Public Library/Friends of the Library Building Fund, 300 North Three Notch Street, Troy, AL 36081 and mailed to the attention of Troy Public Library Director.