By Crystal Burns
The Trenton Board of Aldermen unanimously approved a resolution last week to donate a city parking lot to the Gibson County Memorial Library.
The .54-acre lot is located adjacent to the library on High Street, and the resolution stipulates that it is to be used for library expansion. Cost of the sale is $1, and the property reverts back to the city if the library chooses not to expand or expands elsewhere.
Alderman Bubba Abbott, who made the motion to approve the resolution, disclosed that he serves on the Gibson County Memorial Library Board.
“The decision for the City of Trenton to donate the city parking lot to the library is a huge step in our planning process,” said Lindsey Ingram, director of the Gibson County Memorial Library. “Before we could move forward with our building plans, we had to have somewhere to build. Our current plans involve extending the library from its current location into the city parking lot.”
The city contributes $33,000 annually to the library budget. Gibson County provides the bulk of the library budget at about $142,000 per year. The library serves Trenton, Dyer, Rutherford, Yorkville, Kenton Spring Hill and Bradford. Patrons from Milan, Medina, Humboldt and Gibson also use the library but are not counted in its service area.
The Friends of Gibson County Memorial Library paid $15,000 in 2018 to have a library consultant, Anders Dahlgren of Library Planning Associates of Illinois, to provide a comprehensive needs analysis. He shared the results of his findings with the Friends, the library board, and county and city leaders in February.
The crux of Dahlgren’s findings: the county library is presently operating in 5,200 square feet. To properly house the approximately 24,000 items and 15 computer terminals in its collection, the library should have around 8,600 square feet.
Dahlgren recommended a facility that could house 38,000 items, 24 computer stations, a public meeting space to seat 100 and a children’s multipurpose room to seat 30. His bottom line was a building of 21,600 sq. ft., space that could get a little bit smaller as details are nailed down during the planning process.
Dahlgren said the 21,600 sq. ft. estimate is between the low and moderate points of the spectrum.
Ingram said the next step for the library board is to hire an architect.
“Our goal has always been to keep the library in the downtown area, and now thanks to Mayor [Ricky] Jackson and the Trenton City Council, that will be possible,” she said. “There is still a long road ahead of us, and many obstacles we’ll face along the way, but knowing the positive impact the library has on our county, makes it all worth it.”
The Gibson County Memorial Library Foundation has been established to raise money to build a new library. The foundation’s mission is to support the enhancement of the facilities, collections and programs of the Gibson County Memorial Library over and above what Gibson County and city governments can provide.
Foundation board members are Charlotte Halford, chairperson; Chad Butler, president; Melissa Workman, treasurer; Cody Childress, assistant treasurer; and Crystal Burns, secretary. The foundation meets regularly at 5 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month at the library.
100 for $100
The foundation board is launching campaign to sign up 100 charter members to the foundation. Charter members are those individuals, couples or families that donate $100 to the foundation. They will be recognized in a place of honor in the new library. Charter members will also help the foundation carry out its vital mission. For more information, please contact Lindsey Ingram at 731-855-1991 or firstname.lastname@example.org.