Published June 4, 2021 in The Burg
GALESBURG - Abby Endthoff Galesburg Public Library Foundation Receives Grant from G. L. Vitale Family Foundation
The G. L. Vitale Family Foundation will award the Galesburg Public Library Foundation a grant of $150,000 to help construct the children’s room in the new library. The funds will be used for a creative play space to be named the G. L. Vitale Family Foundation Discovery Area. The Discovery Area will feature interactive toys for hands-on learning, sensory friendly lights and flooring, a reading bench for children and their grown-ups to enjoy stories together, and a topsy-turvy reading house inspired by Carl Sandburg’s Rootabaga Stories’ book cover.
Andrea Vitale, President of the G. L. Vitale Family Foundation, feels particularly connected to the children’s library: “The naming opportunity is perfect since I spent so much time in the children’s section when my three children were small.”
Children’s Department Supervisor Melinda Jones-Rhoades says, “We know that children build a lot of literacy skills through play. I can’t wait for our families to get to spend time together reading and playing in the new Discovery Area.” In addition to the Discovery Area, the new children’s library will also include study rooms, family restrooms, a nursing room, and a large programming room.
The grant will help launch the Building a Library—Connecting a Community capital campaign. A campaign committee of community volunteers has been organized. The Galesburg Public Library was awarded a $15,300,000 million grant from the Illinois State Library to construct a new building. As part of the grant requirement, the library is responsible for raising a match of approximately $5,000,000 locally. The Galesburg Public Library Foundation has received $1
million over the last seven years from donors and bequests specifically for a building; these funds and additional pre-construction expenditures can be used for the match. The total campaign goal for private support is $3,750,000. According to Heather Sipes, Executive Director of the Galesburg Public Library Foundation, “The G. L. Vitale Family Foundation understands the importance of community support for this project. We are thrilled to partner with them in making the new library a reality.”
The children’s library currently holds 30,000 books, audiobooks, magazines, music CDs, and learning kits, and the new building will provide room for over 10,000 additional materials for children. In 2020, the children’s room hosted 175 programs, many of them virtual due to the pandemic, and they are resuming in-person programming next week with the start of the annual Summer Reading Program.
The new library building will be located at 264 West Main Street. The library board of trustees is currently accepting construction bids and expects to award the bid to a contractor in July and break ground later this summer.