Frequently Asked Questions

  • How was the location for the new library selected? 

The location was selected in 2010 after months of deliberation among library staff, trustees, architects, and community members. Seventeen different sites were evaluated and community visioning sessions were held. The new location was selected because it is easily accessible by car and public transportation, and is within walking distance for a large number of library users. 

  • How big is the new library?

The new library will be 68,000 square feet, 85% larger than the current location on East Simmons Street. The new library’s size was determined based on a study of library programs and space needs and is considered optimal for Galesburg’s population. With additional space, the library’s collections are expected to grow between 15 and 20%. 

  • How many people use the current library? 

In 2019, the library saw around 600 unique users each day; the community room was booked 180 times by outside organizations; and patrons logged 13,000 hours on the public library computers. In 2020, even though the building was closed for part of the year due to the pandemic, patrons checked out 111,000 physical items and 9,000 e-books. 21,000 people attended library programs, both in-person and virtual, and library staff answered 19,600 reference questions.

  • Who will pay for the new building? Will my taxes go up?

The Galesburg Public Library was awarded the Public Library Construction Act Grant, funded through the sale of state bonds, from the Illinois State Library. The grant will fund 75% of the construction of the new building, which is $15.3 million. $1 million was donated by the Galesburg Public Library Foundation as the cornerstone gift to the campaign. $3.75 million will be raised through voluntary contributions to the capital campaign. The funding for the building will not be applied to your property tax bill.

The Galesburg Public Library Board and Foundation Board will work with city economic development staff and the Knox County Area Partnership for Economic Development to determine all additional public funding available. The operating expenses for the new building have been carefully analyzed. Utility savings will offset increased expenses. 

  • Is a new library a good investment?

Yes! In 2019, Galesburg Public Library users saved $2.3 million by borrowing books, $268,170 by using the public library computers, $105,626 by attending free programs, and $6,750 by reserving the library community room.

  • Will the library have a public meeting space?

The library recognizes the considerable need for public meeting spaces in Galesburg. The new library will provide sizeable and flexible public meeting space that can be used by people and organizations throughout the community – spaces that are welcoming to all. Smaller meeting spaces will accommodate study groups or one-on-one interactions. 

  • How will the library partner with local businesses, community organizations, and the community?

The library will have opportunities to work with local businesses and organizations by providing adequate space to use if they have a meeting, reception, or training needs. The library will also work with businesses and organizations to bring speakers, seminars, and workshops to the community. Small businesses often rely on the library’s printing, faxing, scanning, and notary services to complete legal paperwork and generate marketing materials. As a community meeting space, the library creates both formal and organic networking opportunities for businesses and organizations of all sizes.

  • When will construction begin, and when will the new building be open?

Site demolition has already begun, with a formal groundbreaking expected later this summer. If all goes as planned, the new building could be open by early 2023. 


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