NAPOLEON — The Napoleon Public Library Foundation is hosting an open house from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at the old Carnegie Library building. Located along Scott Street, adjacent to the current Napoleon Public Library, 310 W. Clinton St., the Carnegie building has been used primarily for storage since 1965.
The Carnegie Library was the first permanent home for the Napoleon Public Library, having been formally dedicated in 1913. It was replaced as the main library in 1965 when the old St. Paul’s Lutheran School was purchased and renovated into the current library location.
According to a brochure produced by the Napoleon Public Library Foundation, a 501©3 tax exempt group, “We are proposing the renovation and expansion of the Carnegie Library. This project will allow us to better serve our wonderful community of patrons, employees, businesses and organizations. The renovation will include a new ADA-compliant wing, private conference/program room, private tutor rooms, updated local history genealogy and research area and a user-friendly drive-up book return.”
Napoleon Public Library System director Betsy Eggers noted the extra space would be well utilized.
“Every space that we use (in the current building) is a room with books in it,” explained Eggers. “So when we do something big, like a book discussion or an author visit, the patrons who want to come in and use the space feel like they are interrupting a program that’s going on.
“We have a lot of kids that come in after school and tutor and they’re reading out loud,” added Eggers. “I can hear them sitting in my office, it makes me happy to hear them reading, but sometimes they aren’t comfortable doing that with people walking by and kids their age seeing them do it. It would be a lot better to have a private space.”
According to plans drawn up in 2018, the two options for the project at that time would cost somewhere from $1.9 million and $3.3 million. However, with the current high costs of construction, those prices would likely be substantially higher.
Option 1 would include: renovation of the current library space, renovation of the Carnegie Library building, and a small addition that would serve as an entrance.
Option 2 would include everything in Option 1, plus the construction of an indoor connecting wing between the two buildings.
“We’re not really on a time schedule with this right now,” said Eggers. “This is the initial step — just opening up the building and getting feedback from the community. When we have our open house on Saturday we will have members from both our board of trustees and our foundation board here. We will be able to gauge an interest from the community on who would be interested even in being involved with this project and being involved with the foundation. We’re always looking for volunteers.”