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Hedberg Public Library seeks $1 million for renovations

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Jake Magee
Saturday, September 9, 2017

JANESVILLE—Private fundraising for planned Hedberg Public Library renovations is underway, but the library is asking the city to kick in $1 million.

The Janesville City Council on Monday will consider the library's request for the city borrow $1 million over two years to help pay for the renovations.

The project is estimated to cost $2.8 million. The proposal is for $1 million to come from the city and $1.7 million to be privately raised. The remaining $100,000 would come from the library fund balance, according to a memo to council members.

Planned renovations include:

-- A central desk with cross-trained staff so library patrons have a one-stop shop for help.

-- An expanded teen area with extra space for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs.

-- Redesigning the library program room with an entrance near the lobby. The library hopes to keep the room open after library hours to meet the community's growing demand for the room.

-- Four additional study rooms and a multipurpose room including up to 18 computer stations for training sessions and several tables and chairs for community meetings.

-- Extra library seating.

The library also plans to fix the roof, replace lights with more energy-efficient models and do other general upkeep, which is why it's asking for city money, said Elizabeth Hough, public information coordinator.

"It's stuff we'd probably be going to the city for anyway," she said.

It made sense to do the building maintenance work and renovations at the same time, Hough said.

The last time the library was renovated was more than 20 years ago. The renovations didn't anticipate the rise of the Internet and other technology, so the library's design isn't responding to 21st century needs, she said.

Library officials want Hedberg to address not only current demand but be flexible for changes years in the future, Hough said.

"Our library is really focused on creating opportunities to be able to respond to future needs," she said.

Hedberg officials reached out to other libraries to gather ideas on what kind of renovations Hedberg should undergo, Hough said.

Library officials are in design conversations with architects. Once the funding is finalized, renovations could begin in phases early in 2018, she said.

The library has raised more than $200,000 so far in private donations. Substantial donations are still pending and will soon be approved, Hough said.



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