Where is a new library for Williamston?

It has been a long time in planning but unfortunately there is no answer to that question.

The Williamston Community Library Foundation (WCLF) is a small group of volunteers dedicated to bringing a modern library to our community. Research and consultation with national experts told WCLF that a new library should be approximately 10,000 square feet to house facilities for a community of Williamston areas size. It would include a large room for community use, space dedicated for larger holdings, and areas for children and teens.

Community surveys told WCLF that the library needed to be near downtown, so property to fit the need was purchased, with a mortgage and pledged support. The economy changed, the pledged support disappeared, and WCLF was left holding a mortgage. After years of searching for a large kick-starter donation, WCLF came to the painful conclusion that it could not find private funding in our community.

The City is contracted with the Capital Area District Library (CADL) to provide a library facility. CADL provides all its libraries with staff, books, computers and other materials. The township insists that a senior center must be included in a new building. Plans for such a building have not been drawn up so whether it would be possible on the riverside site is still questionable.

Currently, the City is focused on the Community Center, which the City purchased from the school district, as an alternative site. The city is working through a process to come up with plans and costs for this alternative, but that process is taking a great deal of time. So, while all this discussion continues, WCLF contends with a mortgage that strains its resources and prevents it from doing aggressive fundraising because of all the uncertainty.

The hard fact: WCLF is running out of funds to continue holding a mortgage. Therefore, if our property is not viewed as the site of a new library, we will put that property up for sale as early as September. Even after the sale, WCLF and CADL will continue working for a modern, fully functioning library.

If you share the vision of a new library on the property beside the Red Cedar, please get involved. Contact your elected officials and tell that you support the river side property. Contact WCLF board members listed below and ask how you can help. Without your involvement and financial support the possibility of a library on the river will soon slip away.

Jack Helder Susan Graff
Fran Schaffert Julia O'Connor
Jim Pechur Robert Howe
Board, Williamston Community Library Foundation