The “Save the Library” campaign to restore the beautiful historical building that houses the Commerce Public Library began a year ago last spring with town hall meetings that resulted in the formation of a steering committee charged with raising money for the restoration.
Before the committe began to work, a major setback in the form of a 25 percent decrease in city funding left the Friends of the Commerce Public Library Board wondering about the future of the library.
The committee was disbanded and the renovation was put on hold with the exception of funds from the First Methodist Church Foundation, which were used to replace the non-functioning air-conditioning.
Other donors have given toward the renovations, but much more is needed.
Grant opportunities are being pursued and the friends are resolved to finish the project in time for the 100th year birthday of the building in 2017.
To reach that goal, it has been decided to work on the restoration as funds are received.
The first action toward the goal was a work day held in April. Volunteers who arrived that morning were students from the Honors College at the university as well as university faculty and library board members.
Efforts were focused on outside clean-up and the removal of plants encroaching on the building foundation and adversely affecting drainage.
A rickety bench was removed and the bicycle rack and railing re-painted. Inside the building clean up continued and the preparation of the walls for painting was begun.
A date for the next work day hasn’t been set but is being planned.
To stay informed and/or to donate toward the effort, visit the library webpage at www.commercepubliclibrary.org.
Nan Clay serves as the Interim Library Director for the Commerce Public Library