Library Expansion, Renovation, and Construction Updates

 

Have questions? Contact Director Matt Weston mweston@dowagiacdl.org, or call 269-782-3826.

 

On November 6th, 2018 residents of the Dowagiac Library district passed a millage of 1 mill for twenty (20) years from 2018 to 2037, for the expansion and renovation of its historic Carnegie building.  For district residents 1 mill means $1 for every $1,000 of taxable value (about half of the market value) on a property or home.  The average taxable value of a property in the Library District is $70,000, which means the average homeowner would pay $70 a year.  The millage will generate approximately $523,000 in its first year.

 
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View of the proposed library from the intersection of Commercial Street & New York Avenue.

 
 

How Will The Millage Be Spent?

Millage funds will be used to pay on a $7.4 million bond over 20 years for the expansion and renovation of the Library, doubling its size to 15,000 sq ft.  Also included will be renovation of existing spaces, new furnishings, equipment, HVAC/electrical/plumbing systems, and restoration of the front of the Library to its original Carnegie facade.  New spaces within the expansion will include a community meeting room, general study and meeting rooms, a teen space, vending area, and expanded popular collections for books and other items.

Click here to see your tax dollar return on investment for library services here

 

Why Now?

The last update to the building structure was 45 years ago, in 1973.  Since 2004--when we became a district with independent funding--the Library has made major and minor repairs to the structure each year.   Visits to the Library have increased dramatically during this time, and the usage has taken its toll.  Last year we had over 60,000 visits.  That is up from 38,000 visits 5 years ago, and almost double the number of visits of 32,000 in 2007!

Also, much has changed with libraries in the 21st century.  We still exist to lend books and provide information--last year we checked out 37,541 items and researched 1,677 questions--but we also provide internet access, loan movies, games, and educational kits, and make available for download eBooks and audios.  We provide a safe and inviting space in the community, open to all, with comfortable places to sit and read, work, or meet with others, and provide educational and recreational programs that foster a love of lifelong learning (the Library had over 3,500 attendees at our programs last year).  The Dowagiac District Library tries to do all these things to keep up with demand, but does not currently have the space to do them in an efficient manner without disruption to others.

Because of the increased pressures on the Library to provide these services to the community, the Library Board of Trustees has saved enough funds over the last decade to hire an architectural firm, HBM Architects, to help design and plan an expansion and renovation of the current building to meet the public's needs.  After receiving public input and meeting with the community last summer of 2017, the Library and architects came up with the following needs assessment and vision for the future of the Library.