Frankford library supporters raising funds for expansion

Supporters and staff at the Frankford Public Library are still chugging along in their efforts to raise money for a planned building expansion. Library Director Liz Hamilton said they recently met with the State of Delaware’s library department in early September.

“There are seven libraries on the list of funding requests,” she said. “And we are sixth.”

She explained that some of the requestors are not as far along in their projects as Frankford, so they sent a letter asking if they couldn’t be moved toward the top of the list. Hamilton said they are now waiting to hear back.

They have also applied for a Department of Agriculture grant for rural and economically depressed areas, and they have looked into federal monies and grants from foundations.

“We have about $400,000 out there in grants that we have applied for,” she explained.

The library has about $200,000 in their building fund now, with certificates and contributions. Hamilton explained that they are asking the State for $320,000 – about 40 percent of their total needed funds, which total an estimated $800,000. She said that, last year, they went to the State to see if they could build less than the recommended 10,000 square feet for a new library – a near pre-requisite for State funding. They originally had a plan for that 10,000-square-foot library, but they were then told by state officials that they wouldn’t have enough money to run a library that big.

“It’s sort of a catch-22. We had a meeting, and we said, ‘We are what we are — what do we do?’” recalled Hamilton. She explained that they received a special dispensation to build a smaller library, with the condition that there be the capability to eventually go to 10,000 square feet if and when they need to.

They then went back to the drawing board. Now, the plans call for their current 2,000 feet of space to be renovated, an additional 4,000 square feet to be built and another 4,000 square feet (which would be built as a second story) to be added later, should they need it. The front door of the building would move to Green Street. There would be added parking and, on Main Street — where the front entrance is currently located — there would most likely be an emergency exit. (Complete plans and renderings are available at the library.)

Fundraising by the Friends of the Frankford Library are “humming along,” said Hamilton. They had planned to have a table at the Frankford Fall Festival on Oct. 29 (which was canceled due to inclement weather), but they also sponsored a Grotto Pizza “Community Pizza Night” this week. On Nov. 2, with a voucher presented by diners, 20 percent of all proceeds of their total bill were to go to the Friends of the Frankford Public Library. The library also currently has an afghan raffle, in which people can buy chances to win an afghan, at $1 per chance.

The library supporters have also asked the Town of Frankford for a donation and have plans to ask the Town of Dagsboro and Sussex County for grants, as well.

Residents and users of the library who wish to be a part of the effort can donate individually online, through PayPal. For more information on the library or how to help, visit www.frankfordlibray,org.