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Colfax Public Library starting “Friends of the Library”

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX — The Colfax Public Library is in the process of forming a “Friends of the Library” group.

The recommendation to form a Friends of the Library came from John Thompson, director of the Indianhead Federated Library System, at the Colfax Library Board’s May 13 meeting.

The Friends of the Library will be a non-profit 501(c)(3) group that can act as a fiscal agent for donations to the library, Thompson said.

Some organizations will only give contributions or grants to a 501(c)(3), he noted.

The Colfax Public Library Board is in the process of assessing the library’s space needs.

If the library stays in its present location, the library will have to expand in order to provide adequate programming for the service population and to provide handicapped accessibility, Thompson said.

Either way, whether the library stays where it is or moves to a different location, the library is going to need money and that is how the Friends group can help, he said.

The only space available for the library to expand would be Tower Park.

A Friends of the Library group can also help bring awareness to a proposal for expansion of the library or for a new library, Thompson said.

Dropped ball 

In 1999 — 16 years ago — a report from the engineering firm of Short Elliot Hendrickson (SEH) stated that Colfax needed a new library, citing a lack of program space, a lack of patron seating and a lack of collection space.

In January of this year, the Colfax Village Board — with the approval of the Colfax Public Library Board — selected Ayres Associates as the architects for building a new library or a new multi-purpose building and accepted the proposal from Ayres for Phase I.

According to the proposal from Ayres Associates, Phase I would provide a project report that would include preliminary cost estimates, operational cost estimates, a brief analysis of each facility option (such as stand alone library; multi-purpose building; one story and two story); and other observations.

The cost for Phase I is $1,800.

Ayres planned to present the Phase I report to the Colfax Public Library Board and the Colfax Village Board and to also attend a community town hall meeting to present the report and answer questions so that community members would have information available to them when they voted in the advisory referendum in April.

The Colfax Village Board held a town hall meeting in February about the library but did not follow through with Ayres on conducting Phase I, so there was no report available for the village board, library board or those attending the meeting.

Friends

The Colfax Public Library had a Friends of the Library group several years ago, but the number of active members dwindled, and the Friends group dissolved, Ludwig said.

Anyone who is interested in joining the Colfax Public Library’s new Friends of the Library can stop in at the library to talk to Ludwig or call her at (715) 962-4334.

An organizational meeting for the Friends of the Library will be held Tuesday, June 16, at 5:30 p.m. at the Colfax Public Library.