Library dedication held Sept. 15
Crete Public Library held an official dedication ceremony for the new building on Wednesday, Sept. 15 with library staff, board members and volunteers, city and county officials, project donors, construction and engineering representatives, and interested community members and patrons.
Program speakers included Master of Ceremonies and Library Advisory Board President, Dr. Tom King, Mayor Dave Bauer, Friends of the Crete Public Library member Lillian Dudley, donor recognition by Carrie Wilsman, and Library Director Joy Stevenson.
This library officially opened on Jan. 30, 2020 and a dedication ceremony was originally scheduled for April of that year, but delayed due to COVID. Although the library closed to in-person visitors during much of the 2020 calendar year, library services never ceased for patrons using online catalog reservations, phone calls to reserve materials, the new, drive-thru pickup window, story time videos, and other virtual programs.
When patrons were welcomed back into the library in limited capacities, health and safety precautions were put in place. An in-person Summer Reading Program was able to return in 2021 as library staff utilized larger indoor spaces and Library Park.
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, at 20,000 total square feet and 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
- new public park with a story book walk, play equipment, and shade pavilion
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 more 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.