Library Foundation & Building Expansion Project

As the Bertha Bartlett Public Library prepares to celebrate 100 years of library services in Story City, the building expansion project is the focus of the library Foundation, with close involvement with the Library Trustees. The Bertha Bartlett Public Library foundation is a 501C-3 nonprofit organization that has been supporting and improving the Bertha Bartlett Public Library since its incorporation in April 1999. The Foundation can have up to 12 members.  Current members are as follows:

Shelley Hart - President                                       Dean Vande Griend - Vice President

Mary Sirna - Secretary                                         Dave Morris - Treasurer

Kolleen Taylor - Library Director                       Lynn Cummings - Library Trustee Representative

Rod Bohner - Board Member                               Alaina Christian - Board Member 

Clark Grinde - Board Member                             Ashlee Mullenbach - Board Member

Paul Wierson - Board Member

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Architectural concept for the building project.

Building Project

In 2017 a Space Needs Assessment was done by George Lawson, an expert in the library construction and expansion needs.  His evaluation determined that our level of services needed 17,000 square feet. The building next to the library, which was owned by Pete Tekippe as a photography studio, became available for sale in 2019, and after discussion with city administration, an agreement was signed to purchase the property at 509 Broad Street. This sale was purchased in entirety with donated funds.  In January 2020, the purchase was completed and the library began using this space for the sale room and storage.  A Steering Committee was appointed, discussions with the Library Foundation, and the city began, and a tour of other libraries was planned. Unfortunately, things changed with Covid-19 accelerating spread in March of 2020, and the project was placed on hold for about a year, with meetings held online, and discussions began concerning the building.

After meeting with five different architectural firms, it was decided to hire Emergent Architects out of Cedar Rapids. This company had recently merged with Novak, the company which designed the existing library.   Meetings with the Board of Directors, Steering Committee, Foundation, Staff and other community members began identifying needs, wants and options.  Preliminary designs of the look of the exterior have been presented and the Library Board of Trustees chose a plan with a 2 story addition and a basement to maximize the square footage possibilities in addition to enclosing the south courtyard.

Issues that prompted the expansion were as follows:

  • Our one large meeting room will only seat 45 people, and we have two small study rooms that will seat up to four comfortably. These rooms are in high demand, made even more so since Covid-19 hit Iowa. Many people are working from home and need the use of our computers, printers or WIFI, and others schedule interviews, meetings or family discussions online as well.  Our meeting room is used for meetings and employee training in addition to the many service clubs, school organizations and theatrical organizations who have requested space to meet and rehearse.
  • Our Summer Reading Programs usually has up to 200 children sign up, and from 50 to 80 attend many of our special programs throughout the summer. Due to the size of our space, we have had to move many of our programs offsite, negating our ability to interact with children and entice them to expand their reading tastes, and build on the knowledge that they acquire during the school year.
  • When Dr. Frances Bartlett Kinne, daughter of Bertha Bartlett, passed away, one of her wishes was that her 1950s-era Steinway piano made in Germany come to our library.  It is now housed in the midst of our nonfiction collection and, because of this gift, our library has become a place for special recitals, performances and piano clinics.  We have always had a successful musical program in our schools, but our high school chorus teacher and theatrical personnel have told us that their students require more places to rehearse in a safe environment and we have opened our doors  to help them prepare.  However, our space and accommodations are limited.  
  • We need more public space for our collection, our programs and more meeting room space for use by our community and other organizations. We have implemented all the solutions recommended in the 2017 study except the building expansion. This is where we need help. The former photography studio built in the 1950s has low ceilings and floors that don't match the existing library structure. The electrical, heating and plumbing systems need to be updated. 

The cost to do this is slightly over $3 million and we are in the midst of a fundraising campaign.  Checks should be written to the Bertha Bartlett Public Library Foundation, a 501C-3 nonprofit organization that supports the library or on this page and at the header and footer of this website you can find a donate button which allows you to donate through Paypal.  The Foundation has already committed the first $1 million dollars, with another $500,000 to match community funds.  Grants are being sought to offset another $500,000, and the Library Trust Fund will cover up to another $500,000.

Additional floor plans, street perspectives and elevations:

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