SYCAMORE — The Mohawk Community Library Board is considering plans for a $300,000 addition to the building.
During a public hearing Tuesday, library officials revealed plans to add a 2,360-square-foot meeting room. The proposed project will include additional restrooms along with a kitchenette, mechanical room and storage area.
The $300,000 project will be paid for with $125,000 from the library’s building and repair fund, $50,000 from the Mohawk Community Library Foundation, and $55,000 from the estate of the late Ruth Earl. The library board plans to launch a campaign to raise the remaining $70,000.
Library board member Joe Weininger said the $150,000 used for the 1997 library addition, which nearly doubled the space from 3,000 square feet to the library’s current size, was raised through a similar campaign. None of the money will come from the .8-mill levy voters passed in 2010.
“I’m going to put on my political hat and say read my lips; no new taxes, which has been given by politicians many times,” Weininger said. “This project is not something that is going to cause additional taxes.”
Director Susan Runion said as many as 75 people attend some of the library’s programs and the current 5,755 square feet is not enough room to sustain the growth.
“A lot of libraries are not just about books anymore,” Runion said. “A lot of libraries have programming and Mohawk is no exception. We are trying to do more programming in our library also.
“This past Monday, we had the ventriloquist to start summer reading and we had 65 people in the middle of our library,” Runion added. “It was kind of chaotic and all kinds of things were going on. … It would have been nice if we would have had the meeting room to put all those people in there.”
Library board president Rita Bennett said the meeting room will include a SMART board and a computer-operated projector mounted on the ceiling.
“We envision that a meeting room could be used by community groups and for educational programs,” Bennett said. “… We envision the Mohawk Community Library becoming the community hub and we would like to have a meeting room to pull it all together.”
Bennett said the new space also would allow the library to offer more technology-based classes and programs.
“Maybe we can have some technology classes, help do some more basic computer teaching, learn how to do iPads and iPods and tablets and maybe even with the phones and all the apps, maybe we can learn that,” Bennett said. “With digital cameras and the cameras on the phones, perhaps we could do some Photoshop teaching.”
More than 20 residents attended Tuesday’s public meeting and everyone seemed to be in favor of the project.
“To me, this is a business expanding and growing,” Sycamore resident Rick Ekleberry said. “It’s a great sign for outsiders to see that maybe Sycamore isn’t going away. They’re bettering themselves; they’re growing. If it happens, you’re going to bring trades in here, people from out of town that are going to be buying lunch at the grocery store or whatever restaurant there is to eat at. If they’re from out of town, they might find a spot they want to come back and eat again sometime. It’s a growth thing. You are bringing people from outside of the community that are going to spend money in the community.”
“I think there’s a definite need for a place for the different groups that are in town and in the area for people to call a meeting,” Sycamore resident Norm Cassidy added.
Sycamore resident Jackie Honaker said she believes the public will support the project and donate money to the campaign.
“I think us rural Ohioans have realized the state’s not going to help us out much anymore,” Honaker said. “We have to do it ourselves.”
The library board will meet at 7 p.m. Monday to decide whether to move forward with the project.
“We have not yet given the OK to this project,” Weininger said. “At our next meeting, we will probably take action.”
By CHANDA NEELY