Cape public library ready to check out of old building

Friday, September 28, 2007

Among the budget line items in the $9 million renovation of Cape Girardeau's public library is more than $38,000 for moving.

Voters agreed in February to double the library tax -- adding $34 a year in property taxes for a home worth $120,000 -- so the library can double in size and expand services. Moving to a temporary location during construction will speed the process by six months, according to library director Betty Martin.

"It's not cheap to move," Martin said. She said two companies will make the transition. The Ohio-based Carney-McNicholas company specializes in shifting the books and other collections, while keeping them properly sorted. The business also dismantles, moves and reassembles shelving units.

The Dexter, Mo.-based Williams Moving Co. will transport furniture and equipment. The cost to move the collections and shelves: $32,000. The cost to move furniture and equipment: $6,000.

"None of my staff is physically able to do the heavy lifting," Martin said. The library has 10 full-time and nine part-time workers. They did help paint and clean the temporary library, at 301 S. Broadview St., and Martin said wiring will be updated to accommodate computer services.

On Oct. 15, the library will close for nine days while books, furniture and technology are moved to the temporary library. The library's staff will remain on the job, some working with movers, others on duty to help collect books as patrons drop them off and remind people of the temporary location. The doors at 301 S. Broadview St. will open to the public Oct. 24.

Fines will be suspended for borrowers while the library is closed, a loss of about $400 in revenue, Martin said. But the librarians are downsizing to squeeze into the buildings on South Broadview Street by selling eight tables and 28 chairs, bringing in what Martin estimated as a total of $600. Only a few chairs and miscellaneous items remain for sale in the library's lobby.

The remaining desks, shelves, chairs and other items will be sold in 16 months. Nothing in the 27-year-old building will look the same, Martin said, because it will be completely gutted as part of the expansion. The existing building will get a new roof along with a new heating and cooling system, she said.

The library's board of trustees met Thursday morning and agreed to plan a formal groundbreaking event for late October or early November, Martin said. Bids for the renovation and expansion will be opened at 5 p.m. Oct. 9 in the community room at the library, at 711 N. Clark Ave. For details, call 334-5279.

335-6611, extension 127

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