Tuesday, September 12, 2017
The Springfield Library Foundation is launching a $2 million Capital Campaign to support replacement of the current East Forest Park Branch Library with a new building. The fundraising effort is officially titled “Promise Realized” to recognize the both the potential within the East Forest Park neighborhood and the promise to continue rebuilding following the destruction of the 2011 tornado. The Foundation, which provides significant funding for Springfield City Library operations, made the formal announcement during a press conference on Tuesday, September 12 at 10:00 a.m. at the Central Library
The new East Forest Park Branch Library will be constructed using a $4.9 million state grant and municipal support. The Foundation’s Capital Campaign will raise additional funds needed to complete the project. The Springfield Library Foundation has contracted Financial Development Agency to coordinate the campaign.
The existing branch is one of the busiest locations in Springfield, but struggles to serve the high numbers of visitors with only 4,100 square feet of strip mall space. Springfield residents are underserved in the facility, which lacks program and meeting rooms, high-speed internet access, and accessible entrances and restrooms. The new building will consist of 17,000 square feet of community space, including special areas for children and teens, a community room, study rooms, dozens of public computers, and a maker space. The new branch is expected to be “a model for the future” according to Springfield City Library Director Molly Fogarty.
Mayor Sarno said, “This new library branch is a key part of revitalizing the city, especially the tornado stricken area of our East Forest Park neighborhood. A stand-alone library for East Forest Park has been talked about for nearly 40 years. I’m proud to say that my administration is going to get it done. It’s also great to again partner with former Mayor Charlie Ryan and our Library Foundation to raise additional funds for this important ‘quality of life’ neighborhood project. No donation is too small or too large. Please be a part of history.”
‘“We’re so fortunate that the state, city, and Library Foundation will be coming together to make this plan a reality. The new library will have a significant positive impact for the East Forest Park neighborhood and the city as a whole,” said Director Fogarty.
“As a member of the Library Foundation and a resident of East Forest Park, this is an especially important announcement for me and all of the residents who have taken advantage of the current location and have been anxiously awaiting a full service library for many years. This Library will be the foundation for education and community development for generations to come,” said Commissioner Caulton-Harris.
Charlie Ryan, former Springfield Mayor and Treasurer of the Foundation board, said,”We’re looking forward to bringing the message with this branch to our fellow citizens. We trust that they will agree with us that its benefits will be felt for generations to come.”
Founded in 1857, the Springfield City Library provides over 800,000 free print, physical, and digital resources for public enrichment, as well as nearly 5000 educational and recreational programs per year. To learn more, visit www.springfieldlibrary.org.