Library launches crowdfunding drive for major interior renovation

From left, Alise and Ahren Crotty look at an atlas at the Dickinson County Library in Iron Mountain. The library Tuesday announced a crowdfunding effort to help pay for a major redesign of the building’s interior, including improved reading space and lighting. (Theresa Proudfit/Daily News photo)

From left, Alise and Ahren Crotty look at an atlas at the Dickinson County Library in Iron Mountain. The library Tuesday announced a crowdfunding effort to help pay for a major redesign of the building’s interior, including improved reading space and lighting. (Theresa Proudfit/Daily News photo)

LANSING — The Dickinson County Public Library is calling on the community, supporters and patrons to help fund a major interior makeover of its downtown Iron Mountain site.

The library Tuesday announced it will pair with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation on a Patronicity crowdfunding campaign that aims to raise $20,000 by the end of the year.

If it hits that mark by Dec. 31, the project will secure a matching grant from MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places program, according to a news release Tuesday from the MEDC and library.

A similar route was used to generate money for the Power of Words Project mural painted this past summer on the west facade of the Daily News building.

“Libraries historically have been the public meeting spaces of our cities, towns, and villages,” said Katharine Czarnecki, MEDC senior vice president of community development. “However, many of these institutions need to update their services and spaces to keep up with public demand. This project will do just that and ensure the Dickinson County Library is a well-used space for future generations. We are pleased to provide resources for and serve as a partner in this effort.”

The project, working with Blomquist Architects of Iron Mountain, would “reimagine” the library and its core gathering and reading spaces to be “welcoming, accessible, and better organized,” an “energized and modern Reading Room.”

The renovation would include installing multi-level and enhanced lighting within the reading room, providing more comfortable and modern seating, integrating of the fiction collection for easier browsing, relocating the large print collection for greater accessibility and adding another community meeting room plus reference desk. Access to the handicapped restrooms also would be improved.

More details and a rendition of the proposed renovation can be viewed at http://www.dcl-lib.org/redesign. That page also has a Patronicity link, http://www.patronicity.com/dclredesign, for donations.

The library board already has set aside $130,000 for the project and plans to boost that amount to about $175,000 in 2018, said Megan Buck, director of the Dickinson County Library.

So the potential $40,000 from the campaign and matching grant would get the project to its $216,000 funding goal to complete all the work now planned, Buck said.

“The plans to ‘Reimagine the Dickinson County Library in Iron Mountain’ include something for everyone in our community. I am excited to share our MEDC Public Spaces Community Places grant campaign with our community to encourage their support of our project,” Buck said, adding the effort “will have an amazing impact on our ability to transform our building into a modern and well-utilized space.”

Library officials noted less than half of Dickinson County residents now have a library card.

“We would love to see that number increase and have more patrons utilize our spaces and services on a regular basis,” according to the Patronicity page.

The library opened at 401 Iron Mountain St. in 1969. The last major renovation at the building came in the 1990s, when the bookmobile garage was converted to the local history room, along with other improvements.

The Dickinson County Public Library system includes the main location in downtown Iron Mountain, plus the Solomonson branch at 620 Section St. in Norway and the North Dickinson branch within the North Dickinson County School District building in Felch Township.

The Public Spaces Community Places initiative started in 2014 with the MEDC providing matching funds of up to $50,000 for community improvement projects throughout Michigan. As of the end of October, MEDC had provided $4,117,333 in matching grants and seen 143 projects successfully reach their goal, with nearly $5 million raised from 25,980 individual donors.

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