PI library explores buying Grambau Center

ROGERS CITY — Libraries aren’t just about books anymore.

They have changed over the years, Presque Isle County Library Director Amber Clement said.

“To move forward with growth in our town, the library is a start. Growth is a positive thing we need,” she said.

To provide room for the growth Clement speaks of, the library has started to look into possibly purchasing the Grambau Center. The first step was to survey the public on their opinions of the plans.

Program Director Anne Belanger said the library posted the survey online and at the five different branch locations.

“For the survey, 193 people responded and 89 percent were in favor of the plans,” Belanger said.

Clement said the next step is to have a feasibility study done to see what the building would look like as a library and how much it would cost.

“At this time to provide more services and to house our own collection we need to grow, but there is no room to grow. We would lose parking space,” Clement said. “We have a lot of classics in a closet. They’re available to the public, but we have nowhere else to put them.”

At this point, in discussions with the library board, the library would be the facilitators of the building.

Clement said the library wouldn’t take up the entire building and therefore there would space for events like weddings or conferences.

“In Presque Isle we don’t have conference space availability. It’s time for Presque Isle County to have conference space. Currently we have to take groups to Alpena. We want them to come here and see what Presque Isle County is all about,” she said.

Clement said she thinks the gym would stay and the library could include rooms such as quiet spaces, makerspace, a teen area, kids area, expand its collection and more.

“Our children’s area is right across to where people sit to read the newspapers and magazines and most likely want a quiet space. I want the children to feel free to socialize and be loud if they have to. Our testing area is not in a good space. People take online tests for certification or ACC or other colleges. We need a better, quieter space for them to do that as well,” she said.

If the library purchases the building it would be able to stay downtown and preserve the historical building that once served as a school.

“I’m all for saving historical buildings. Historic preservation is one of the key things in our community. It’s a great location. It’s the perfect sized building. It would be a place where people could come and interact with other people. We can have a community place,” she said.

The move also would benefit the other county branches because they would be able to have a larger collection on rotation for them.

In order to pay for the the building and renovations there would need to be a millage, but an amount is not known yet, Clement said.

“This needs to be community supported. We need their help to getting this done; their ideas. There’s been a lot of great ideas I didn’t think of. Someone suggested that the farmer’s market could be there in the winter time. There’s so many benefits that outweigh the negatives,” she said.

To learn more about the plans Clement will give a presentation at 6 p.m. Friday at the Rogers City Theater. Clement said this will be a good opportunity for the community to ask questions or weigh in on the plans.

Jordan Spence can be reached via email at jspence@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5687.