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City of Crete Nebraska


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New Crete Public Library is open

Crete Public Library, 1515 Forest Ave, Crete, NE.

The Crete Public Library and community room occupies a total of 20,000 square feet of space on the block which formerly housed the city’s first modern hospital. The new library's entrance plaza is located off the new main parking lot at 15th Street and Forest Ave. Opening Day was Jan. 30.

The City Council accepted a bid of $5,559,000 from Sampson Construction in August of 2018 with a groundbreaking held just over a month later on Sept. 12. The building, designed by BVH Architecture, includes:

  • new library (about 15,000 square feet)
    • adult reading room with a two-sided fireplace 
    • gallery wall for rotating art displays
    • study and meeting rooms with digital screens
    • teen space
    • patron computers and patron wi-fi
    • technology room
    • children's area with activities and accessible book bins
    • family seating area with an accessible restroom
    • children's program room and reading garden
    • cafe area and additional seating areas throughout the library
    • drive up window and drop-off for library materials
    • Staff lockers and work room
  • community room with catering kitchen
    • classroom style or banquet style tables
    • doubles as a storm shelter
  • (Spring 2020) new park space with a story book walk and play equipment

The total project is fully funded at $7.4 million: $4.2 million from sales taxes, $2 million from grants, almost $500,000 from individual donors, $250,000 from the Friends of the Crete Public Library and $150,000 from local corporations. (View photo galleries of the construction process.)

A sales tax increase of one-half percent was approved by Crete voters in 2016 to provide for the new library and adjoining community room/storm shelter; funds were also anticipated towards community safety initiatives in the form of two new police officers.

The old library at 305 East 13th Street was built in 1915 with a gift from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation; an addition was constructed in 1985. A feasibility study deemed the structure to have accessibility issues for both people and technology, space limitations for growing programming needs, and maintenance concerns. The library and associated programs host nearly 10,000 visits annually by patrons who access print and digital resources and many programs were held off-site in larger venues.

The City Council has approved an agreement to demolish the old library building while future plans for the space remain under consideration.


Property use and new library planning timeline:

  • 1949-1952 - Crete Municipal Hospital and additions completed on block bordered by 15th and 16th streets and Grove and Forest avenues
  • 2003 - hospital moves to new Crete Area Medial Center completed on Betten Drive
  • 2003-2016 - Tabitha of Crete occupies old municipal hospital for long term care and assisted living facility
  • 2016 - City of Crete acquires old hospital/former Tabitha building
  • 2016 - Crete voters pass sales tax increase to fund new library/community room/storm shelter facility, new park, and community safety needs following library feasibility study and research
  • 2017 - Community input meetings held on library and community room/storm shelter design
  • 2017 - December - Two new Crete Police officers hired using funds generated from sales tax increase to be used for community safety
  • 2018 - January - demolition of old hospital building
  • 2018 - March & June - input meetings held on proposed building layout and design
  • 2019 - July - library and community room project is fully funded with additional grants and donations

Library site engineering and construction timeline:

  • May - June 2018: Engineering plans and specifications
  • July 2018: Construction bidding
  • August 2018: City Council accepts Sampson Construction bid; Pre-construction staking, permits
  • September 2018: New library groundbreaking held
  • September - October 2018: Site finish grading
  • October - November 2018: Utilities and power installation
  • October - December 2018: Footings and foundations
  • November 2018 - January 2019: West retaining wall
  • December 2018 - February 2019: Structural steel construction
  • January - May 2019: Roofing
  • July - August 2019: Exterior brick
  • August 2019: Retaining wall; window/glass installation; new parking lot and parking lot reconstruction
  • February - October 2019: Interior construction
  • November - December 2019: Finish construction
  • January 13 - 29, 2020: Estimated closure of old library/moving to new building
  • January 30, 2020: Opening of new library facilities
  • Spring/Summer 2020: Landscaping, sprinkler system, playground, outdoor signage


Crete Public Library
1515 Forest Ave.

Crete, NE 68333
Phone: 402.826.3809