If fundraising goes well, the Redwood Falls Public Library will be expanding about a year from now. (Image courtesy Engan Associates on behalf of the library)

Fundraising for a planned 6,000+ square foot addition to the Redwood Falls Public Library only officially began this week — and Library Director Connie Lechner said they’ve already raised about 10 percent of the needed $3.2 million.

The current, 14,000+ square foot library was built in 1995 and paid for entirely with donations and grants, with no local tax dollars. The Redwood Area Library Foundation plans to pay for the addition the same way. A June fund drive is being planned. A committee will be reaching out to the private sector starting this week, and several grant writers are researching every possible source of funding that might be available.

In addition, Lechner said an unnamed donor has promised to do a matching grant once a certain amount is reached. If fundraising for the addition goes as well as it did for the original building in the early 1990s, Lechner said staff hopes for a groundbreaking in April, 2024.

The new addition has been in the works for eight years, beginning as a gleam of a twinkling of a dream in the city’s 2015 five-year plan. Lechner said that in addition to needing more workspace, library staff has wanted to expand the childrens section so that kids activities don’t need to share space with adult meetings and activities.

In addition, post-COVID, the library’s meeting and study rooms are heavily used by small groups and students needing spaces to gather.

Last year, the Redwood Falls Public Library had over 60,000 in-person visits (“Awesome for a community of 5,000,” said Lechner), over 112,00 uses of the library’s wi-fi, and has over 56,000 items available to be checked out.

For more information, visit the Redwood Falls Public Library website (https://redwoodfallslibrary.org/), or just stop by and chat with one of the library staff.