Earlier this month, the Annville Free Library received a major state grant that, along with required matching funds raised through a capital campaign, will help the library realize a plan to join the existing library with a library-owned duplex located next door.

The grant comes to the library by the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Office of Commonwealth Libraries with financial support provided through the Keystone Recreation, Park, and Conservation Fund.

The Annville Free Library dates back to 1939 when a group of women, led by Lillie Struble, moved to create a library for the children of the Annville community. The library moved several times before finding a permanent home in today’s Annville Historic District through a 1949 land donation by Gideon and Alice Kreider.

“Once more, the library has outgrown its home, especially as the focus moves from libraries as primarily places for books to include places for people — places for people to meet, learn, access new technology, and share interests,” said the library through a press release.

Honorary chairs William and Carol Christ are leading the capital campaign for the project to provide the necessary matching funds for the state grant.

“As an avid reader, I used the library to fill my every need for books, children’s programs, and community services,” said Carol Christ in a message posted to the capital campaign website about why she and husband Bill felt it was important to continue the Kreiders’ generous spirit by donating to the effort. “Throughout the years, I proudly transitioned from patron to volunteer, Children’s Librarian, and, ultimately, Library Director.”

“Over time, the library has continued to change and adapt, as needed, to serve the broader community while retaining a culture of friendliness and helpfulness among the staff and volunteers.”

The building plan has been in the works since 2017 and was developed in collaboration with Hickey Architects, Arthur Funk & Sons, Annville Township and the township Historic Architectural Review Board, and the Friends of Old Annville.

The project will expand access to the library by way of two new ADA-compliant entrances, additional restrooms, and a larger youth room and central patron help desk.

A groundbreaking is planned for June 18, with construction to begin soon after. The library will remain open through the expansion and renovation process.

Funds continue to be raised by the library to further renovate the adjoining duplex for use as a library program and community space. To learn more about the renovation plans, watch the video below.

The Department of Education does not share submitted applications, but press secretary Kendall Alexander said that the contract agreement will be posted on the state’s eTreasury website after it is fully executed.

Alexander said that the Office of Commonwealth Libraries received 34 applications requesting more than $8.5 million in aid, and was able to fund 21 of those projects at a total amount of $5.28 million. Prior to this round of grants, the Keystone program had awarded at total of 409 grants for $59.5 million in funding since the program’s inception in 1994.

To learn more about the expansion plans or donate to the effort, visit WritingTheNextChapter.org.

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