Albion Library to expand storage space

T-R PHOTO BY SARA JORDAN-HEINTZ The Albion Municipal Library and Heritage Center has embarked on a fundraising campaign to cover the costs of obtaining custom-made oak cabinetry, that would be installed underneath select bookcases in the library. Here, Library Director Julia Ohrt shows how this addition will also make it easier for patrons to access shelves that are currently very low to the ground.

ALBION — With time comes the need for more space to store the plethora of materials that can accumulate. The Albion Municipal Library and Heritage Center has embarked on a fundraising campaign to cover the costs of making and installing custom-made oak cabinetry.

The need for storage options has deepened because of the impending demolition of the town’s old school building — where many of the library’s overflow of programming materials and seasonal decor have been kept since the library first opened in 2007.

“We are paying for the storage drawers with the help of local businesses, grant money, and the proceeds from our new 10 year anniversary cookbook,” said Library Director Julia Ohrt. “It’s been around 10-20 years since the community last released a cookbook, and there’s been a great interest in this volunteer-driven project.”

Since its launch late last year, the cookbook has generated around $1,000 towards the project. Ohrt explained that the cabinetry would be installed underneath some of the facility’s smaller existing bookshelves, with the benefit being twofold.

“We have no basement or storage area, so we have to create a storage option in our ‘great room’ (where the bookshelves are). Also, since some of these bookshelves are so low to the ground, the cabinets will help to raise the shelves so people who have trouble bending down can see the books easier,” she explained.

The cookbooks, which cost $10, are available for purchase at the library, the Albion Casey’s and Market Off Main.

How does this library in a town with a population of 500 impact the area?

“We had 3,979 visitors to the library in the 2017 fiscal year,” Ohrt said. “We recorded 867.5 volunteer hours — it goes up every year — and we serve students in the four area school districts. A total of 219 events/meetings were held here.”

What will the extra storage space mean to the operation of the facility?

“We don’t just want a place to store what we have now. We want the library to be sustainable for generations to come,” she said.

On May 5, the library, along with the Albion Alumni Association, will host joint garage sales on the premises of the library and nearby old school building. The hope is to generate funds to build an Albion Community Center, whose location is yet to be determined.

“We’re just all connected here,” Ohrt said.

The library is open Mondays and Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesdays and Thursdays from noon to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon. To learn more, contact Ohrt at 641-488-2226.


Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com