September 25, 2000

Money for Books

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Over 1500 donors had contributed to the new Tompkins County Public Library as of September 15, when the eight month fund-raising effort to increase library resources officially ended.

The Library Campaign will clear $1.7 million when all campaign contributions have been received, according to Elayne Nicholas, Library Foundation director.

The figure exceeds the expectations of the library staff, who hoped to raise $1 million dollars, noted library director Janet Steiner.

“We are extremely exhilarated by the support of the community,” Steiner said. “It shows that the community truly believes in the value of the public library.”

The cost of buying and rebuilding the new library has already been covered. Tompkins County provided $6.4 million to renovate the former department store on Green Street; the Park Foundation purchased the building for $2.5 million.

With 33 percent of all of the donations coming from individuals, in addition to funds from New York State and Cornell, directors feel that the Library Campaign is indication of the strong community support for the library.

“This provides an incredibly strong base [for the library]. Everyone bought into the project,” Nicholas said.

Construction on the new library will end in mid-October and the library will open November 20, after a ten day moving period from the old building. There will be a two day grand opening for the library in January, with performances, book talks and children’s programs to highlight everything in the collection.

The money raised by the Library Campaign will be used to provide the new building with furnishings, technology, programs and services that will maximize the increase in library space.

The building on Green Street has double the space of the current library on Cayuga Street, which gives the library many new opportunities and options for improvement, according to Steiner.

“We want to make [the library] the heart of the community,” Nicholas said.

The collection will be shelved at heights that are age-appropriate, and there will be new comfy seats, reading rooms, program rooms, book talks and author visits, to name a few of the attractions, according to Steiner.

“There is no value on access to information and education. It is very important because it gives anyone an infinite amount of possibilities,” Nicholas said. “But that access comes at a cost.”

Archived article by Eve Steele