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To grow the library
Six years after moving, the Dickeyville library needs more space
Library shelves
Six years after it moved in, the library is so full that DVDs and books take up nearly every available space.

DICKEYVILLE — Space has become an issue for the Brickl Memorial Library in Dickeyville, and a plan is being formulated to help alleviate the problem.

At a Village Board meeting Jan. 8, trustees reviewed the options of expanding the library, located in the community center on East Avenue in Dickeyville.

Several ideas were presented, including adding on to the west side of the building, expanding into a portion of the adjoining meeting room, expanding into the entire adjacent meeting room or doing nothing at this time.

The topic arose as the Friends of the Library group intends to apply for grant funding through the Dubuque Racing Association and would like to know what direction the board wants to pursue.

Tina Pfohl, the village’s librarian, has been working on the space issue for approximately the last year.

The main option being considered is expanding into the entire adjacent meeting room. Powell said the room used to be used for the Head Start program, but that was stopped because of financial crunches closing the Dickeyville site.

“The board looked at possibly making two rooms out of it, making a partition that would leave the meeting room approximately 16 feet wide,” said Powell. “It wouldn’t be a very large room. It is smaller than our board room, which has always been the smallest room.”

After looking at the engineering expenses of creating a new room, the board is discussing using the entire meeting room for the library expansion. The renovations would cost less as only one wall would need to be removed and nothing new would need to be added other than furniture, which is the responsibility of the library.

Powell said the library will be able to grow into the space.

The current library is short on space for books, storage and activities. The shelves are filled to the point where there is room for a book here or there on the standard-height shelves. The bottom shelf is even being used, which isn’t convenient for library users or personnel. The books can’t be stood upright with the smaller space, and some patrons may find it difficult to look at the books so close to the ground. A chair on wheels is available to help that process.

Through the library system, Brickl Memorial Library has to purchase $2,500 worth of new items each year.

“To try to put anything new on the shelves, you have to revamp the whole area,” said Powell. “It is very crowded. It is a good problem to have.”

The DVD shelves are so full they are also being stored on top of the bookshelf.

Powell said the library staff has already weeded out old and unpopular books from the shelves to make room for other books. The weeding process should take place every seven years; the library has been in its current location for only six years and has outgrown its space.

If the library expanded into the entire meeting room, the children’s area could be expanded with shorter book shelves and more space. A study area could also be added for older children.

“We’ve talked about a lot of different things, but just to have more room and be able to spread out a bit more would be helpful,” said Powell.

Powell said the community center building is a total of 13,000 square feet, but there isn’t a lot of room for storage. The lower shelves of the book cases are currently housing the games and supplies that could be stored elsewhere if there were room.

The meeting room is currently used for various public meetings, private gatherings and parties.

“We will lose that, but the revenue-making part of the building is the gym and the kitchen,” said Powell.

A second, smaller meeting room is still available to rent. The village doesn’t charge rent for any activities that include children or are civic-related. Donations are always appreciated to help improve the facilities.

Powell said the village board has asked Pfohl to make a suggestion on how to proceed and how much it is going to cost the board to remove the wall. The expense is not currently in the budget, although the village’s surplus fund could be used.

Structural changes are the village’s responsibility, while furniture will be provided by the library. The library has some money saved that could be used for some furniture.

The community center brings in approximately $3,500 annually through rentals and donations.

The village board will discuss the topic further at its next meeting on Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. in the smaller of the two meeting rooms of the community center.