Rockford Public Library accepts Sullivan Center, increases non-resident fees from $115 to $120
Online Staff Report
The Rockford Public Library Board of Trustees voted 5-2 at its Sept. 24 meeting to accept ownership of the Sullivan Center as a gift from the building’s owner, Richard Nordlof.
The vote comes after months of controversy surrounding the proposed gift. After cuts to library staff, reductions in hours of operation and struggles to keep the library system’s six branches open, many suggested taking on another facility may not be in the library’s best interests.
Gwen Lashock, one of two residents who spoke before the board Sept. 24, said, “If you feel you have that kind of money, the citizens deserve to have the library hours and staff returned to previous levels before you assume new risky expenditures.”
Nordlof’s gift requires the center, which is the former New American Theater building at 118 N. Main St., not be sold or converted for other uses. The library will likely use the center for programming.
Library board members Marjorie Veitch and Bradley Long voted against the library’s acquisition of the center. Veitch cited a 2012 community survey that showed about two-thirds of patrons use the library to check out materials and to read, while less than 1 percent use the library for programming.
The library board voted at its Sept. 24 meeting to allocate $85,000 of its 2013 budget to the operation of the Sullivan Center. The board also voted to increase the annual fee for non-resident library cards from $115 to $120. The increase will go into effect Nov. 1.
The Rockford Public Library Board of Trustees meets at 6 p.m. on the fourth Monday of every month in the Friends of RPL Community Room at the East Branch Library, 6685 E. State St., Rockford. The main branch is at 215 N. Wyman St., Rockford, about a block from the Sullivan Center.
Posted Sept. 27, 2012
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