Barneveld Public Library
Earlier this week I sat down to an overflowing inbox and started checking off messages to erase. Before hitting the delete button I skimmed the subjects and one message caught my eye. It said, “Give your grandkids something they’ll remember you for.” It was from a company that sends out daily coupon deals and the subject tricked me into thinking that I might find something exciting I could share with my family. I was disappointed but ultimately not surprised to find the usual: deals for teeth whitening, spray tans, and laser hair removal.
How will today’s youth remember us? Will they grow up to see how the community of Barneveld supported them or will they feel let down? Should we focus on white teeth and bronzed skin, or is there something else that we can give them?
Today, our library is embracing an opportunity. One that will provide value now and will set the stage for the next generation to thrive. In March of 2015, we will break ground on an expansion of the Barneveld Public Library that will double the space available to the community.
This expansion is a $1.6 million project and no small feat for a community of our size. But we have a great start, thanks to a generous gift of Jerry and John Frautschi on behalf of the Walter A. and Dorothy Jones Frautschi Charitable Fund. The $600,000 gift was made in honor of their grandfather Jerome Jones, a long time resident of Barneveld.
The Barneveld Library has experienced a 210% growth in use over the last 10 years and we’ve outgrown our current space. We’ve been rated “below basic” when it comes to space, number of books, movies and public computers. The library is also home to a variety of free community programs such as preschool storytime, book clubs and writing workshops for teens, adult book groups, gardening lessons, and summer movies for families The project will expand the building to 8,650 square feet, accommodating our current needs and provide growing room for the next 20 years.
One major area of focus in the expansion is our ability to provide digital resources to the community. Ask anyone of your neighbors that lives outside the town limits and you’ll quickly hear how slow, unreliable and, in some cases, nonexistent internet access is in Iowa County. Just last month, an OpEd from Senator Dale Schultz appeared in this column making a call for volunteers to join in the statewide effort to map the availability of broadband.
It’s no secret that internet access is an issue for our community and many children don’t have easy access at home, even though online resources are often required for school work. Maybe this is your child, or the student that sits in the desk next to your child at school. The library is the only location in town that provides free internet and the expansion project will more than double the computers available in the community.
A recent study by the PEW Research Center found that 95% of Americans ages 16 and older agree that the materials and resources available at public libraries play an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed. Today Barneveld has the opportunity to take a step forward with the library, making it a place where roots reach deep and minds grow strong.
There will be no tax increase and a village bond will provide additional funding. But the Barneveld Public Library still needs your support. Please consider joining this effort in the following ways:
- Give: Gifts of every amount are needed for this community project. Please consider a gift in the amount that is right for you and your family. Every pledge gets us one step closer to our goal
- Volunteer: You can make our fundraising events a success by lending a hand. Contact the Friends Group to learn how you can help
- Visit: Everyone is welcome at the library. Please stop in to explore, join a program, or browse the shelves online.
More information about supporting the expansion can be found at www.barneveldpubliclibrary.org or by calling 924.3711.