Boonville Library Faces Major Funding Issue

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BOONVILLE - Librarians with the Boonslick Regional Library in Boonville said Tuesday they're starting back at square one to find a way to raise money for the construction of a new library. According to the 2011 State of America's Libraries Report, the recession has made funding issues a common problem among libraries across the nation.

It will be exactly two years this July from when the city of Boonville proposed plans for a new library building. However, the library is still located in an old Kroger grocery store.

The library estimates the new building will cost between $3 million and $3.5 million to construct. So far, the 57-year-old library has raised less than $100 thousand.

Library supervisor Gloria Barbour said the Boonslick Regional Library system originally expected to have the new library complete by now through federal funding. Federal money is available for  improvements such as new technology, or books...but Barbour said it was impossible to get money for new construction.

The plan for the new library calls for an expanded children's area, an outside children's garden, energy efficient lighting and two additional staff members. It also makes space for larger aisles so the library will be more accessible for people with strollers or wheelchairs.

Barbour said one of the most important features of the new library will be the additional space the new building will provide. With about 10,000 square feet in the new building, the library will designate spaces in the library for children, teens and adults — a feature the library currently does not have.

"The new building is three times the size of this current one," Barbour said. "The amount of books that we have and we get daily — daily, daily, daily — we have no room for."

Librarian Kathryn Bass said she believes that because the current children's area in the library tends to get noisy at times, everyone will appreciate the separate space set aside for children in the new library. The spaces for all ages should also encourage more people to read, she said.

Library patrons continually see the new building plans that have been posted in the front of the library for over a year and ask when the plan will become a reality, Barbour said.

The library will place brass plates in its new facility containing names of major donors.