Buckeye Lake’s new library opened last Sunday. It is the crown jewel of a now 10-year long effort. It began with a small group of Buckeye Lake area residents who wanted to open a library or at least a reading room in Buckeye Lake Village. They called themselves Friends of the Buckeye Lake Library.
Progress was slow and stalled at times, but the steps forward were all based on collaborations. The Village of Buckeye Lake provided an unused building for $1 a year. Former Licking County Library Director Steven Hawk secured support from the library’s board to add a branch in Buckeye Lake. The county library would provide the lending materials, staff and computers. The Friends had to turn the vacant building into a suitable library, maintain it and pay its operating expenses including utilities and insurance.
The Friends invested a lot of sweat and local businesses donated materials and services to turn a concrete block building into a small library. It opened just over six years ago and was an almost instant hit. More than 1,200 library cards have been issued. A friendly and dedicated staff attracted and kept patrons happy.
Both Steven Hawk and The Friends recognized the library’s shortcomings. It was too small with very limited parking in an out-of-the-way location. Our two-year trial was a big success and the agreement with the county library was extended with the understanding that the Friends would seek a more suitable location. Our prospects were limited and progress was slow. Then we heard that local developer Chet Hauck was interested in helping us. He had completed the shell of a strip center on Ohio 79 just as the real estate bubble was bursting.
Chet and his wife, Pat, have given new meaning to a “sweetheart deal.” They only asked that The Friends reimburse them for the cost of building out the space for a library – walls; ceiling; floor; interior walls; electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems; lighting etc. and are allowing us to do it over time.
Thanks to their generosity, we now had a viable new home. The new county library director, Babette Wofter, quickly jumped on board as did her board, spending tens of thousands on new furnishings and more computers. Ray King donated his exhibit design and fabrication skills. The Friends have stepped up fundraising efforts. Annual expenses will be $18,000 to $20,000 for the three times as large new library. Others are joining our long-time supporters – Alexander’s Landing, Buckeye Lake Eagles and Mantonya Chiropractic Centers. This is truly a community effort and your support is needed.
Stop in to see your beautiful new library. Everyone is welcome!