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Dairy Days book sale reflects library progress
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It’s book sale time at Dairy Days, another opportunity to find great bargains, support the Soldiers Grove Public Library, and learn more about progress toward expansion and renovation of the library.

Just about a year ago, the Soldiers Grove Library Board began a campaign to fund the expansion project. A fund of $30,000 existed and, in the year that’s passed, pledges, donations, grants, and the hard work and support of many have increased it to almost 75 percent of the $680,000 needed to purchase, renovate and expand the 30-year-old building.

“That’s a remarkable accomplishment,” said Soldiers Grove Library Board President Barb McGlynn. “It speaks to the respect and need for the library and its services, and it shows what a community can do when everyone works together.”

The Village of Soldiers Grove purchased the former pharmacy building, which adjoins the library, in March 2011, with a generous anonymous donation assisting in the purchase price.  A building committee proposed plans and invited community input. A fund raising committee began work in June and has met monthly since.

At its June 7 meeting, the Soldiers Grove Village Board passed a resolution supporting the Library Board’s contract with the architects, Cameron Aslaksen, L.L.C., who will complete the design, construction documents and bidding.  Plans are for construction to begin later this year and conclude in May of 2013.

“A lot has happened in less than a year,” said Soldiers Grove Library Director Cele Wolf. “We’ve been so crowded for so long, and soon there’ll be space for people to use all these wonderful library services comfortably.”

A $274,000 Community Development Block Grant was awarded in February 2012. Business and foundation grants, as well as local pledges and contributions large and small, make up the rest of the funds. Library patrons and friends participated in fundraising events: three fundraising concerts, brat sales, raffles, auctions, card sales, and consistent drops into the buckets at the library and various establishments around Soldiers Grove have helped raise money and community ownership of the expansion project.

Joni Peterson, former art teacher at North Crawford Schools, designed a poster that illustrates the motto “The Little Library That Could.”  Fundraising progress is marked as the little engine that first moved up the fund-raising hill now begins to move down toward the finish line. A copy of the poster is exhibited outside the former pharmacy building, into which the library will be expanding.  And the original watercolor painting, with the funding status updated regularly, can be seen inside the Library.

“The goal seemed pretty daunting when we first set it,” said Russell Gilbert, fundraising committee chairman. “But it’s within reach now, and we appreciate all the support from so many people.”

Information and floor plans will be available during the Soldiers Grove Library Book Sale at Dairy Days. Saturday, June 16, the sale will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. under the big tent in Beauford T. Anderson Park. Wolf invites everyone to browse books, magazines and other items, meet friends and neighbors, and support the Soldiers Grove Library Expansion Project.