Kalkaska has outgrown its current library. Since 2008 the number of books and other materials checked out has grown by 18%, inter-library loan requests have risen by 520%, and attendance at library programs is up 175%. We are out of shelving space, meaning that when we add new books and other items to our collections, we’re forced to “weed,” or remove, a similar number of titles. The increase in program attendance, and the types of programs and meetings the library hosts, have created the greatest space needs. Our current building has no private meeting rooms for smaller gatherings or community space for larger programs and events. We simply need more space to deliver 21st-century library services.

Why $6 Million?

When the Breton Group conducted a needs assessment in 2002, library program attendance was 3,270, half the number of attendees in 2019 (6,500). The space constraints the library struggled against nearly twenty years ago have become virtually unmanageable today. By necessity, programs of wide community interest—for example children’s summer reading programs or author speaking engagements—must be held at the local school cafeteria or auditorium. Lack of space is negatively impacting the overall satisfaction and enjoyment library patrons derive from events and programs, too. Unavoidable distractions, noise, and cramped settings work against the library’s mission to build community. The $6,000,000 price tag for a new building of adequate size and amenities is the product of years of careful research and sound fiscal consideration. 

“The Kalkaska County Library has been faced with the challenge of finding enough space to provide services and resources necessary to meet the community’s needs. The library staff has been using limited space strategically to provide a level of service comparable to much larger facilities. However, serious space constraints are preventing the library from expanding its collection and services, and offering additional programs necessary to meet the needs of both children and adults in the community.”

~ Needs Assessment & Facility Planning Report for the KCL. Breton Group, Inc. 2002.