By Kate Thurston Rushville Republican
---- — Since the Rushville Public Library opened its doors in 1910, the library has been through changes.
The original library was a two-room facility located in the county courthouse. In the late 1920’s, a combination of public and private monies funded the construction of the present Rushville Public Library at 3rd and Morgan Streets.
Over the years of use by the community, the facility has seen two significant renovations. In the 1950’s, a mezzanine, where adult non-fiction is shelved, was added. During 1988-89, the library received new lighting, air conditioning, carpet and walls. Lower level rooms for meetings, technical services and genealogy were generated from existing rooms and workmen excavated under the library to create storage areas.
All of the renovations combined created the facility as the community knows it today, rich with opportunity for those who enter. However, while providing valuable services over the past 82 years, the existing structure is now in need of serious renovations and expansions.
With more than 102 years of history behind it, the library improves the quality of life by providing resources that boost educational opportunities, supplying diverse entertainment, serving all ages and uniting friends and family.
“As the community and society grows, advances and matures, the library’s function and facility must meet these changes and ensure the continuation of resources, services and programs that Rush County has benefited from since 1910,” Sue Otte, the library director, stated. “Unfortunately, the 82 year old library cannot satisfy present needs, nor will it be suitable for future generations without improvements and expansion.”
The library needs helps in many areas, one of them being help with people who have special needs.
“Elderly and special-needs patrons find the library increasingly inaccessible and unwelcoming with its ramps, numerous steps, lack of comfortable seating and narrow aisles,” Otte said.
Other renovations that need to be made are reconstruction of crumbling walls, buckling windows and expanding.
“The library is at a crossroads. It has the opportunity to grow with the changing needs of the community or remain stagnant and the walls of the existing facility will continue to crumble. The history of the building and the value of the services it provides are too great to let fall by the wayside,” Otte said.
“The library is mostly funded with city property tax money. City property taxes comprise probably 2/3 of our revenue. We also get some miscellaneous city tax money from excise and other sources. It adds up to about 95% of our revenue. The other 5% is from fine money, book sale, county library card fees, copier and FAX fees, etc.”
The library board and fundraising committee are beginning an initiative to raise funds entitled, “It’s Overdue, Renew.” The object of this campaign is to raise the funds needed to renovate the existing library building and build a three-story, 20,734 square foot addition. The minimum goal is $5,000,000 which will enable phase 1, with is renovation of the existing library, construction of expansion and leaving some areas unfinished. The campaign launched in April 2013 and will continue through March 29, 2016, anticipating that the funds will be raised by then for Phase 1. Phase 2 will be the completion of unfinished areas.
There are many ways to help and donate.
“All residents of Rushville and Rush County are being asked to consider gifts for ‘It’s Overdue, Renew.’ There are a variety of ways in which gifts can be contributed such as long term subscriptions, non-cash gifts and deferred gifts,” Otte said. “Materials can also be donated.”
“Long term subscriptions are pledges payable over three years. For most people these commitments are much easier to fulfill. Gifts maybe made monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual installments. Non-cash gifts are an additional or alternative way to support the library. Also labor materials, gifts of securities such as stocks and bonds or even personal property such as artwork, jewelry or antiques are welcomed. Deferred gifts are arranged, but will not be received until a later date. These include will bequest, gifts of life insurance policies or annuities and gifts in trust.”
For more information on how you can help, contact Sue Otte at 765-932-3496.
Contact Kate Thurston at 765-932-2222 ext. 105.