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Sandwich Library asking voters to approve construction of new facility

B.J. Cryer secretary Sandwich District Library Board Trustees is doing her best inform educate residents library district about need for

B.J. Cryer, secretary of the Sandwich District Library Board of Trustees, is doing her best to inform and educate residents of the library district about the need for a new library building.  Residents of the library district, that covers Sandwich Township, portions of Fox Township, and a quarter of Millington, are asked to vote on a whether or not to issue bonds totally $3.4 million on Tuesday, Nov. 6, during the general election. Cryder, who taught in Sandwich schools for 10 years and now substitute teaches, has been speaking to local groups, describing needs and showing plans for the new building.

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Updated: November 18, 2012 6:30AM

SANDWICH — The 70-year-old Sandwich Library is filled to the brim.

So full, in fact, that beams supporting the main floor had to be repaired in 2004 because the structure couldn’t carry the weight of the books behind the librarian’s checkout counter.

At that time, engineers recommended a new library be built to meet weight-bearing specifications, according to B.J. Cryer, secretary to the Sandwich District Library Board of Trustee.

Cryer has been talking to the Sandwich Rotary Club, Sandwich Lions Club, Sandwich School Board, Sandwich Park Board and others, emphasizing the need for a new building that would serve everyone.

Cryer and others are spreading the word about the Nov. 6 referendum to issue $3.4 million in bonds to replace the building constructed in 1941. The Sandwich Library District includes Sandwich Township, a portion of Fox Township, and a quarter of Millington.

The library received a $1.6 million grant from the state to help build a new facility on a five-acre parcel of land at 921 S. Main St. in Sandwich.

Cryer said the library board looked at many existing buildings in the city over the last few years, researching options for the library. The board discovered that remodeling existing buildings would be very expensive and not feasible because of specific library needs, Cryer said.

The present library has 10 concrete steps outdoors and another five steps indoors up to the main floor, making it inaccessible to the handicapped — and even people who might not be strong or have problems with balance, Cryer said. The lower level, where the junior library is located, also must be reached using a stairway.

The building also has experienced roof leaks, even after repairs have been made. There has been water damage to wooden shelving on the main floor, and carpeting in the lower level has been soaked.

Having just one bathroom in the building, on the lower level, is another condition that indicates the library’s age, Cryer said.

The present library has limited on-street parking — about six spaces — for patrons and workers because there’s no room for a library parking lot. Cryer said there is only about three feet from the library to the lot lines on three sides.

Cryer said the design for the new library would include a meeting room, a refreshment area, comfortable seating, study rooms, Wi-Fi, along with more books, computers, and DVDs.

A 24-hour, seven-day-a-week pick-up and drop-off would be provided with a new building, Cryer said. She said when patrons order books, the books would be put into outside spaces with numbered locked boxes. Patrons will be notified to key-in their library card or other designated number to open the box that holds the books or other items ordered.

If the referendum passes, a homeowner with a house valued at $150,000 would see a tax increase of about $64 a year, Cryer said.

For more information, call Sandwich Library Director Jennifer Burke at 815-786-8308.

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