DeKALB – DeKalb library leaders got an $8.5 million Christmas surprise.
The Illinois Public Library unexpectedly released $8.5 million to give the DeKalb library toward its construction and renovation plan, so long as library leaders can raise local matching funds by June 30, State Rep. Bob Pritchard said Wednesday. There will be some other requirements the library will need to meet to receive the funds.
“This is an entitlement, meaning that if they raise their local share and meet all the requirements, they will get the $8.5 million,” Pritchard said. “If they don’t, they won’t.”
Library leaders applied for the Illinois Public Library Construction Grant program, but learned this summer the library fell just below the cut-off for available funding, Pritchard said. The DeKalb library could become eligible for more construction grant money if other Illinois libraries fail to raise the local matching funds by June 30.
“The DeKalb Public Library is thrilled at the vote of confidence of the Illinois State Library in the future of the 1930 historic current building,” library director Dee Coover said. “We look forward to the next six months as we meet with the Illinois State Library officials, community meetings and planning for the phasing in of long-range goals.”
About 47 Illinois public libraries with construction projects topping $112 million applied for the grants.
“In its request for state funding assistance, the De- Kalb library outlined remodeling and new construction totaling $25 million,” Pritchard said in the news release. “The state grants will allow the library board to begin construction in phases to reach the expanded facility envisioned by the community.”
Local leaders are discussing how much the local match will be, if local tax increment financing funds are available and if a philanthropic fundraising program is feasible, Pritchard said.
“There’s been a lot of discussions in the last 10 years,” Pritchard said. “Now push has come to shove.”