[Libraries of Stevens County Press Release]
The Libraries of Stevens County and the City of Colville have received award letters for four Department of Commerce Capital Improvement grants for four library facilities.
The Capital Improvement grant aims to improve library facilities in rural and economically distressed counties; Stevens County is both rural and economically distressed. The Libraries of Stevens County applied for funding for the Chewelah, Loon Lake, and Northport library buildings. The district chose these facilities primarily because they are the three buildings the library district owns and have significant needs to address. The City of Colville (who owns the Colville Library facility) applied for a grant for the Colville Library, in partnership with the library district.
The four projects together total nearly $2 million. Half of that will be given through the Department of Commerce grant. The other half will come from library capital expenditures, donations, a loan from Tri-County Economic Development District (TEDD), fundraisers, and in-kind donations (i.e. labor, materials, etc).
This grant opportunity is the first time in living memory that state grant funds have been available for library facility projects. Because Stevens County also meets both the rural and distressed requirements, this opportunity will allow the district to address safety modifications and upgrades, spatial requirements, better building efficiency layouts and systems, and facility equipment upgrades.
The library district is excited to share that they plan to build a new Loon Lake Library. All staff are fond of our current location; however, the space is unable to be expanded upon and cannot meet our current community needs. The district worked with a local architect during the grant application process for guidance on the Loon Lake location, requirements, and options. In the end, it was determined that a new library building will best serve the community.
This will be a long process, and community input and feedback will be welcomed. The grant funds need to be used by the end of 2025. More information will be coming out of the next few months about the planning process and fundraising efforts.
“This will be the first library that the district has built, and the first library in our county built with modern library needs in mind. How fitting that it will be in Loon Lake where it all began,” said Amanda Six, Director for Libraries of Stevens County.
More information will be coming as the district advances through the beginning stages of the grant requirements. For questions or comments on any of the library projects, please contact the library district through their website at www.thelosc.org/contact-us or the administration office by phone: (509) 233-9621.