February 03, 2023

Library expansion plans change

Due to rising prices, the Gibson Memorial Library Board’s plans for expansion have been altered. Originally eyeing the empty lot on New York Avenue, Library Director Gabriel Chrisman has had to be creative, thinking of ways to achieve a more effective and helpful space.

“We discovered that the fundraising has not been keeping up with the increasing costs of construction.” Chrisman said. “We’re exploring other options as what to do to improve the library, such as doing remodels within the existing building.”

Some of the items he would like to add to the library include putting in outlets under tables and providing more meeting space for community members.

Another idea Chrisman is excited about involves the empty green space outside of the library.

“Adding an outdoor structure is one of the things that we’re working on right now,” he said.

Chrisman said this space could be useful in the warmer months for children’s story sessions and community concerts among other things.

The board met Monday to discuss if they could achieve some of these changes, as well as a few other important matters.

The subcommittee in charge of fundraising for these efforts, formerly known as the Capital Campaign Committee, officially changed their name to the Library Legacy Committee. In addition to this, they solidified their two-year plan to submit to the state library re-accreditation program.

“For the next two years, we’re going to focus on getting more people in the door to check more books out, get people library cards and running more programs at the library,” Chrisman said.

In order to fund the expansion and programs, the Library Legacy Committee has a variety of events planned.

“They’ve got a fashion show coming up in spring that they’re doing with a couple of local businesses,” Chrisman said.

This fashion show is scheduled for the last full week of April. Additionally, the library will continue their wine walks as part of their fundraising effort.

Ultimately, the library’s goal is to get more people in the door. According to Chrisman, about 350 people are regulars users of one of the library’s online programs to access books.

In addition to physical books, this public service also provides free internet, a large selection of online books through online library app Libby and programs and classes aimed for all ages of Union County citizens. Furthermore, Chrisman hopes to add a streaming service to library membership benefits in the next few years.

The Gibson Memorial Library is located on West Howard Street in Creston.

Erin Henze

Originally from Wisconsin, Erin is a recent graduate from UW-Stevens Point. Outside of writing, she loves to read and travel.