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Start date for Genoa library expansion tentatively set

GENOA – After nearly 10 years, the Genoa Public Library may finally get some breathing space.

The library, at 232 W. Main St., is tentatively set to break ground in the spring for an expansion project. In 2010, the library purchased the lot next to the existing building where a second structure is expected to go up.

The new space will store even more of the materials that are piling up at the current location, Library Director Jen Barton said.

“We’re kind of tight and cramped in our current space,” she said. 

The current building is about 3,400 square feet and has a collection of about 30,000 items, ranging from DVDs to magazines. Barton said the building is used for programming events and the limited amount of space means they have to hold most of their programs in the children’s area.

There’s not enough space for everyone to sit down during events held at the library and every time the children’s area is used, it has to be cleaned out, she said. 

“We’re hoping the new space will be user-friendly,” Barton said.

No official design of the new building has been set, but it will be a one-story facility that will be double the size of the current building. The new space will house the library’s collection and provide meeting space. The current building will be used for staff and the two buildings will interconnect, she said.

Dewberry Architects Inc. will handle the architecture and Shales McNutt Construction in Elgin will handle construction for the expansion effort, Barton said.

Barton said she didn’t know when the documents for the design would be available.

For now, the library needs to continue with expansion.

“It’s reached the point where what we can build and accomplish is what we need to accomplish,” she said.

Barton has only been with the library for three years and she knows it’s been a topic of discussion with the library board for more than a decade. She said since the library started in 1922, it’s been an element of the downtown area. 

She said she likes to think the library is at the heart of the downtown area.

“I think it’s important for us to continue to be in downtown and invest in the downtown area and continue to be here with people who utilize us already,” Barton said. 

By the numbers

10: Estimated years the Genoa Public Library has been discussing expanding its building. 

3,400 square feet: Size of the current library building. 

30,000: Estimated number of materials in the library’s collection. 

For more information, visit the Genoa Public Library website at or call 815-784-4829.

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