Plans under way for Sikeston library renovation

Sunday, March 3, 2013

SIKESTON -- Libby Caskey remembers heading to the lower level of the Sikeston Public Library as a child to select her books.

As a mother, she shared her love of reading with her children, who would pick out their next books from the collection down the stairs. Now, Caskey wants to share that experience with her grandchildren, introducing them to children's activities sponsored by the Library in the lower level.

However, before that can happen, Caskey and other members of the Sikeston Library Board of Trustees are working to raise the $475,000 to $500,000 needed to refurbish the lower level.

"We are cramped for space in terms of programming opportunities," explained Caskey about the effort.

Cramped may be an understatement. When the expansion in the early 1990s and the McAmis Community Room was created, the Library's summer reading program served 197 children. In 2012, there were 2,490 taking part in the summer activities and during 2011-2012, some 8,723 children ages 2-17 enjoyed 246 programs at the Library.

Family Night programs are so popular reservations are required. Library staff report families add their names to a waiting list in hopes they can participate.

"It seems like the room is getting smaller because we have so many children show up for the programs," said Ann Thompson, children's librarian.

According to Thompson, in addition to turning away participants, the library has turned down exhibits. Without the proper space for displays, Thompson said, she couldn't apply to bring them to Sikeston.

"The expansion is going to be a huge asset to our library because the kids will have much more room to learn," she said. "We can expand the usage again with the additional space."

Architect Dale Rogers with Starnes and Associates working with the Sikeston Library Board has proposed turning the lower level into 800-square-foot programming space with a raised platform for presentations. The kitchen will be refurbished and the area will be updated to provide the latest in technology for use in programs and meetings.

For more information about the Sikeston Public Library's renovation campaign, contact the library by phone at 471-4140, by email at info@sikeston.lib.mo.us or visit the library's website, www.sikeston.lib.mo.us/Vision2013. Also project and fundraising updates can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SikestonPublicLibrary.

All donations to the Sikeston Public Library are tax deductible.

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