New Library Project
The Ellsworth Public Library, a cornerstone of the community for generations, is about to embark on an exciting expansion and renovation project. Papers have been signed for the acquisition of the vacant BMO Harris Bank building. This impressive structure, adjacent to the Pierce County Courthouse on Main Street, will very soon become the Ellsworth Public Library’s new home.
For every new venture to succeed, enthusiastic support is needed. Ellsworth and our surrounding communities did no let us down! Thanks to strong community support, Phase 3 of the project’s fundraising efforts was successfully achieved in April of 2021. Upon achieving this goal, the Village of Ellsworth moved forward to obtain the remaining building financing and our building committee began seeking contractor bids and planning for basic renovations to begin in fall of 2021.
We now enter Phase 4 of our fundraising efforts. Our goal for this phase is $550,000. This amount represents the approximate difference between basic renovation to the building and the full renovation plan, which is what our community wants and needs. Our community and library staff deserve a completed project when the library opens its doors in its new location in 2022!
The Ellsworth Public Library serves the greater Ellsworth community, welcoming cardholders from around the region. In 2019, cardholders numbered 2,823, with checked-out items number 65,172.
While a library is commonly thought to only be a dispensary of books, our library does much more to fulfill the needs of our community. Our library is a safe, public space for kids after school, for people during inclement weather, for job coaches, therapists, social service visits, tutoring, etc. Our library provides educational and fun programs for all ages and is the place for community members to show off their artistic talents. You’ll find free Wi-Fi and many unconventional items available for check out, such as blood pressure kits, Wi-Fi hotspots, literacy backpacks, Launchpad tablets for kids, power meters, books, DVDs, music CDs, audiobooks, and magazines. The library also provides professional services, such as, printing, copying, scanning, and faxing.
The impact of the library is far-reaching and creates an economic impact in our community. A percentage of the library's 2,800 cardholders not only visit the library but complete a longer list of errands while in town, spending their dollars at local businesses. An active library has a positive impact on commercial and residential property values and also makes our downtown look alive and vibrant.
Total Funds Raised
PHASE 1 - Complete!
Ellsworth Public Library will contribute $595,000 toward buying and renovating the vacant BMO Harris bank building.
PHASE 2 - Complete!
Ellsworth Village Board has committed $500,000 towards a new library contingent on securing $350,000 from private contributions as well as qualifying grants.
PHASE 3 - Complete!
Securing $350,000 from businesses, community members, and grants is a crucial step. The Village of Ellsworth is requiring that we have these funds in hand prior to them securing their portion of funding for the project. This phase also includes final project planning and initial basic renovations to the building. The goal is to achieve this by March 31, 2021 so work can get underway in the fall of 2021.
PHASE 4 - In Progress
A continued fundraising effort to raise $550,000 through private donations will see the library project through to its completion. This amount represents the approximate difference between basic renovation to the building (Phase 3) and the full building renovation plan, which includes the elements our community wants and needs. Our community and library staff deserve a completed project when the library opens its doors in its new location in 2022!
The new Ellsworth Public Library project dates back to 2012 when the Village of Ellsworth voted to approve the formation of a Building/Space Committee charged with investigating space options available to the library and the community. Based on our population, the number of cardholders, and the size of our media collection, to adequately serve the needs of our community the recommended square footage of our library should be approximately 16,000. Our current library space is grossly undersized at just 2,880 square feet.
The committee considered many options including a new building, an expansion/renovation of the existing library, and relocation to existing vacant buildings. Due to considerations such as cost, downtown location, and the needs of our community, the committee made the recommendation to the Village Board to pursue the newly vacant BMO Harris Bank building. The BMO Harris Bank building plan offered the most cost-effective and flexible solution.
Some of the features of the new library will include:
Expanded square footage with private spaces for studying, job coaches, therapists, social service visits, and tutoring.
A large meeting room for civic/community functions.
Improved handicapped accessibility.
Separate, welcoming spaces for differing needs and ages.
The space for onsite educational programs for all ages.
A wider variety and number of books, DVDs, CDs available, plus an expanded list of unconventional items to check-out.
A larger display space to feature local artistic talent.
The projected cost of a basic renovation for this space was $1,415,000. The Village of Ellsworth purchased the building using $325,000 from library funds and has committed to borrowing $500,000. More than $350,000 has been raised through community donations and grants. All this allows the project to get underway.
The library is currently working on raising an additional $550,000 for a fuller renovation, which will avoid the need for a 2nd phase renovation down the road. Estimated at $1,887,000, completion of the full plan will help the space function better as a library and better serve the community. The Library Board designated a $110,000 CD toward this phase of the building project, kicking off this latest fundraising effort.
Future location of the Ellsworth Public Library.
Preliminary floor plan of the new Ellsworth Public Library.
Join in the effort by mailing your donation to:
Ellsworth Public Library
312 W Main Street
Ellsworth, WI 54011
Make your donation directly in-person by visiting Associated Bank, Ellsworth location.