Frequently Asked Questions

Why does the library need a bigger building? 
Our current facility at 100 E Market was constructed in 1956 and has had additions built at two different times, most recently in 1995. However, a third expansion is simply not a possibility. Quite simply, we are land locked. At 12,000 square feet, our current facility struggles to meet the current demand of our patrons and services. Hundreds of people enter our doors each week and this year, we had nearly 175,000 check-outs of materials. We are a major source of education and recreation the area, and we long to be able to provide even more. For many, we are the only library open more than a few hours a week within 30 miles.

Where is the new library going to be located? 
The Fifth Third Bank Building, located at 200 North 3rd Street, was purchased by the City of Effingham and given to the Helen Matthes Library as its new building. The new facility is
ideally located in the downtown area.

What is the total cost of the project? 
$3.5 million

Why does this cost so much? The building looks fine to me. What does $3.5 million include?
$3.5 million will cover the cost of renovating the facility, preparing it to function as a library
(meeting rooms, new data lines, computer equipment, office space, larger collection space, better lighting, etc.), updating all electrical to bring it up to code, updating all HVAC equipment so that it operates efficiently and functions well for the change in floor plan from a bank and office space to a public library, adding a sprinkler system as required by fire code, and increasing the size of the elevator so that it also complies with fire and accessibility code.

What is the goal for fundraising?
$2 million

How much money do you have raised?
We have $500,000 raised from previous efforts. We also intend to sell our current facility and apply for other types of federal and state grants to help defray the cost. Additionally, we have raised nearly $800,000 towards our $2 million dollar goal.

Where is the rest of the money coming from?
Federal, state, and private grants will also be sought. The library also has reserves that can be used without negatively impacting services.

Does the city intend to help financially?
The city council did help financially by purchasing the building and grounds for the new facility and providing it, free and clear, to the library.

Did you hire a fundraising firm?
We hired Meier, Jost and Associates from St. Louis. They have worked on previous projects in this area and are very knowledgeable about Effingham. They worked with us to develop our plan and documents as well as train the individuals that will be asking for donations. Effingham resident Pam Crisman is now working with the Our Future, Our Library Steering Committee to assist the library in reaching its $2 million dollar goal

When will the building be ready?
We are projecting to break ground in December 2014 with a 2015 opening date.

How big is the current building and how big is the new building?
The current library is approximately 12,000 sq. ft. and the new building is approximately 27,000 sq. ft.

What is the name of architectural firm?
Johnson Roberts Associates

I heard the architects were from out of town. Why didn’t you select someone local?
When this project was bid out, Johnson Roberts had an office in Illinois, though the main office is based in Boston. Johnson Roberts were selected because their price was fair, they primarily work in libraries and other government buildings, and their ideas were innovative and adaptive for our space and community. As of July 2013, their Chicago office has re-opened again and we once again have access to an Illinois-based architect from the firm.

How are the architects qualified? How many projects have they done?
They have done over 50 renovations and/or new buildings for public libraries as well as a few academic libraries. They have also completed a number of municipal, education, and restoration projects. They have been in operation since 1996.

What is your plan for moving?
We still have some time to consider our options as we won’t be moving until 2015. We will consult with other libraries that have done a renovation as well as moving companies that specialize in moving libraries to come up with a plan that will ensure that we move efficiently and with the least interruption of service to the community.

How many parking spaces will you have?
We are projecting that we will have about 80 spots.

Do you have to make any structural adjustments to the building?
The building is quite sound and has checked out with our engineers (Henneman from
Champaign) to be adequate for supporting book weight, which is 150 pounds/square foot.

Is my donation tax deductible?
Yes. You may make your donation to the Helen Matthes Library. Donations are tax
deductible to the extent allowed by law. If you are a corporation and need to donate to a 501(c)3 organization, please contact Amanda McKay, Director.

What types of gifts does the library accept?
In addition to cash, a variety of tax deductible gifting opportunities to the Our Future, Our Library Building Fund are accepted including: stocks, bonds, mutual funds and planned gifts such as wills, estate plans, charitable trusts, insurance policies, and more. We are also open to discussing in-kind donations as well. Your gift will ensure that the Effingham Public Library will continue to be a major source of education and recreation for the area, and allow the library to stay relevant for years to come. You may make your gift in person, by mail or online at www.effinghamlibrary.org. Donations can be made as a one-time gift or a pledge over a three to five year period. Call Amanda McKay, Library Director, (217)342-2413, ext. 5, to discuss these gifting opportunities.

Why should I make a gift to the Our Future, Our Library Building Fund?
Your gift today will help ensure that Effingham has a public library that meets the current and future needs of its residents.

Does the library accept my business’s corporate matching gift program?
Yes. If you or your spouse works for a company that provides a matching gift program, you can increase the amount Our Future, Our Library Building Fund Illinois receives by enrolling. When your gift is matched, the Effingham Public Library Building Fund gets additional funding that costs you nothing.

How much should I give?
How much you give is totally up to you and what your budget will permit you to give. All
gifts—no matter how small or large—will help the Effingham Public Library to transform its new home into a center for lifelong learning and a community gathering place.

How do I know my gift will be put to good use?
Every gift—no matter the size—makes a difference! Your generosity will be put to work helping provide the badly needed financial resources. With your help, we can continue to be a leader in library services and continue to build a solid reputation for our innovate range of services in our community.

Why should I make a multi-year pledge?
A multi-year pledge will assist the Library in sound planning, affording the opportunity to
exceed expectations. Your multi-year gift will give the Library the extra boost in knowing that your financial support will be there to assist as it makes plans to remain a vital asset in our community for years to come.

Will the amount of my gift remain private?
The amount of your gift will not be released to the public. We do plan to recognize donors at an incremental level of gifting. However, it is up to you if you would like your name or gift level to remain between the library and you or to be shared with the public.

What other gifts do you accept?
The Effingham Public Library accepts gifts of cash, appreciated stock, wills, estate plans, charitable trusts, insurance policies, retirement plans, company matching programs and more. Our staff will assist you to ensure that your gift receives the most favorable tax treatment. We also have several volunteer opportunities available to community members. In-kind gifts that can be put to immediate use to the library are often accepted.

What is the vision for the new Effingham Public Library?
Our planned renovation will modernize the former Fifth Third Bank Building, bringing it into its new life as a 27,000 square foot library for Effingham. The facility will feature a mixture of traditional and new services that will allow the library to stay relevant to Effingham for a long time. Features include:
• 150 seat meeting room
• Computer training lab
• Dedicated space for teens
• Movable spaces to adapt to evolving needs
• Innovation Lab
• Quiet study rooms for tutoring sessions

Our building project will also focus heavily on creating other community spaces specifically designed for collaboration. Our current space suffers from a lack of table and quiet meeting space where small groups can gather and develop ideas. Our new building has 3 rooms dedicated to this concept as well as multiple informal points on both the first and second floor to encourage this type of interaction.