Reporting Lisa Fielding
MAYWOOD, Ill. (CBS) – It’s Maywood’s marquee landmark. Inside the historic Carnegie Building, the village’s public library will turn 140 years old next year.
“It’s the fifth oldest library in Illinois, and we’re one of the few with a significant archive,” said Maywood Public Library Director Stan Huntington.
But declining property taxes and state revenue means the facility is more than $500,000 in debt.
“Maywood has a high foreclosure rate. There are some blocks were five homes are in foreclosure. We don’t have the revenue we once did,” Huntington said.
He said the library is racing against the clock to stay open — either raise the money or extend the bank loan.
“We need more time to make the loan payment and that’s crucial based upon the fact that we’ve had this tremendous drop in income,” he said.
Huntington said, if the library has to close, it would be devastating to the community.
“We are the center of the community. We’re a meeting room place, we’re a job center, we’re a safety net for children, safety net for seniors. We are the center of the community. You can come to the library at any hour and the parking lot is full,” he said.
Huntington said 3,500 people a month use the library’s computer center alone.
In 1994, after the community overwhelmingly approved a referendum to make the library bigger, it expanded from 950 square feet to the 40,000 square foot building today.
A grassroots effort is underway to help save the library. Huntington says a citizens group is actively campaigning in the community to garner donations.
Donations can be made to the Maywood Library Foundation.