2018-04-12 / News

Fundraiser to benefit campaign to build new library

Bowling event slated for April 21 at Gerlach’s in Lapeer
By NICHOLAS PUGLIESE
810-452-2601 •npugliese@mihomepaper.com

LAPEER — The Say Yes To A New Library Committee is inviting the public to throw a few frames for new digs. On Saturday, April 21 from 6-10 p.m., the group will hold a Bowling and Bake Sale Fundraiser at Gerlach’s Bowling Center on 258 W. Genesee St. in Lapeer. During the fundraiser, visitors will enjoy $5 per game/per person prices and free shoe rental.

Money raised during the event will be used to purchase signs and other advertising material to encourage voters to approve a new library. The Say Yes To A New Library Committee, said member and volunteer Jennifer Bentz, is “a group of people that all have a common interest in getting the word out to vote YES for a new Lapeer Library because the library that we currently have just doesn’t service our community the way that a library should,” she said.

As reported last month in The County Press, residents who live within the Lapeer District Library’s service area will be asked on an Aug. 7 primary ballot to decide whether they want to support a new main library building to replace the 96-year-old Marguerite deAngeli Library. District residents in August will be asked to approve a proposal of between .46 and .5 mills for 20 years. The library has until May to define the specific ballot language.

The group’s fundraising subcommittee has been planning the April 21 fundraiser, and according to Bentz, settled on a bowling event and bake sale to attract the widest range of people as possible. “(They) decided on a bowling/ bake sale because it sounded like fun, would get different people involved in the project, and because Gerlach’s is known to be generous and easy to work with,” said Bentz.

The fundraiser, said Bentz, will go toward getting the word out about the need in Lapeer for a new library. “Our library is very small. There is simply not enough room for the community to get the most out of the amazing opportunities and programs that the Friends of the Library sponsor,” she said. “There is not enough parking. The library is on a small lot surrounded by busy streets and can be dangerous for little ones.”

The current building, the Marguerite deAngeli Library, has called the corner of W. Nepessing and N. Washington streets on the western edge of the downtown Lapeer district home for nearly a century, and since the building was constructed, said Bentz, the needs of the community have changed. “The library was built almost one hundred years ago (and) at that time, they didn’t build with the internet in mind. The infrastructure is not capable of handling the needed upgrades,” she said. “The library is at its maximum capacity. Each time a new book is added one has to be removed. There is no space to grow or expand the collection that is being offered when it is constantly being scaled back.”

According to Bentz, a new facility would allow for a central location for community events that would be available to all residents. “We want people to vote yes for a library built for our needs and that can give us more,” she said. “We want a library that can connect Lapeer and keep up with a changing Lapeer.”

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