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Stewart Library to close on Oct. 4 for move, will reopen Nov. 2

Stewart Library, Grinnell’s public library, will be closing the doors at the present location on Oct. 4, at 4 p.m. The library is moving to a new building at 930 Park Street and will reopen as Drake Community Library on Nov. 2, according to the current construction schedule and moving timetable.

The new library has been named after George and Sue Drake, in honor of their service to the community and to Stewart Library in particular.

The move will be quite a production. The library has over 70,000 items in the collection.

There are computers, file cabinets, office materials, and furniture items from the old library to move to the new location. In addition, there is new furniture to be delivered and new equipment to set up and configure, including more than 30 additional computers and state of the art audiovisual systems. A professional company, Hawkeye Moving and Storage, which specializes in moving libraries, has been contracted for the move.

Third and fourth-grade students at Davis Elementary will be assisting in an important way. They will move all items in the picture book collection from the children’s room in the basement of the old building to the spacious, natural light-filled space in the new building. The picture books will be put into specially labeled bags and students will come one class at a time. The designated day will see a stream of students for several hours, walking the one block route, as the young citizens of Grinnell help move the library. In the new library, the picture books will be in bins instead of traditional shelves, making this collection much easier to browse. The expansive and bright new space in DCL’s children and teen areas will transform these areas not only into a relaxing and inviting place for teens, children, and their caregivers to find great books -- but also into a prime destination to do homework, use online resources, meet friends, and just hang out,” says Youth Services Librarian Simone Sidwell.

The increased space at Drake Community Library will provide ample room for the library’s various circulating collections, plenty of comfortable seating arrangements, enhanced children’s programming space and an area dedicated for teen use.

Private study rooms, a large community meeting room with up-to-date technology, and a climate controlled space for local history materials will be welcome additions in the new library. “Our new library will enable us to keep abreast of changing technologies and provide the setting for a vibrant community center,” says Lorna Caulkins, Library Director.

The new library will have more than three times as many computers for the public. There will be six computers designated for children’s use only, compared to one in the current building. Teens and adults will have access to 16 computers with full Internet access as well as office applications, up from 5 currently available. The library will also offer wireless Internet access throughout the building. Some of the other improvements include increased Internet bandwidth, a video security system, a program/meeting room with integrated amplification and projection systems, and mobile audiovisual carts. “Configuration, testing and training on the new technologies will be a major staff focus during October. We want to make sure everything is functioning properly before we open and that staff are well versed in use of the various systems,” says Monique Shore, Library Systems Administrator.

Caulkins says, “Community support for the new building has been remarkable. Private donations and grants have exceeded the original goal by $1 million and will cover 60 percent of the cost of the building.”

A final fundraising effort is underway to raise $450,000 to complete the furnishing of the new library. Pledge forms and additional information about the new building is available at

UPDATED September 23, 2009 9:15 AM

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