By Dean Vaglia
Leader Staff Writer
The Addison Township Public Library’s request for federal funding was approved as part of a $1.5 trillion appropriations bill signed into law by US President Joe Biden on Tuesday, March 15.
“I am STOKED,” James Baldiga, library president, said. “It has been a lot of hard work. I cannot believe it is happening. I am in a ‘pinch me’ mode.”
The $500,000 comes from the House of Representatives’ fiscal year 2022 appropriations for transportation, housing and urban development projects and was placed as one of the Community Project Funding candidates submitted by Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin. The funds will be transferred to the library within six months.
Slotkin visited the library in July 2021 to learn more about the project, complimenting the library board on their application and stressing the project’s importance.
“It is extremely important to me that our smaller, rural communities, particularly in Oakland County, get the resources that they need,” Slotkin said last July.
The Addison Township Library received 100 letters of community support alongside its application. Letters were sent from State Senator Rosemary Bayer, Oakland County Executive David Coulter, Oxford Community Schools Superintendent Tim Throne and other local leaders.
“We got a call the next day from Congresswoman Slotkin’s office telling us how fabulous our application and how everybody loved that it had 100 letters to accompany it,” Baldiga said.
The $500,000 puts the library closer to its goal of $1.31 million, their fund sitting just under $1 million as of Monday, March 14. The library is still seeking donations to cover a construction loan as well as goods and services donations.
“We needed more than $500,000 but we felt that $500,000 was a good number to take us where we needed to be but not be greedy,” Baldiga said.
One ongoing fundraising plan is the purchase of “Fabulous First Line” bricks, where every month people can donate toward inscribing a brick with the first line of children’s books like “The Giving Tree” or “The Snowy Day.” People can also purchase and inscribe their own bricks for the new building.
The new library’s site plan was approved by the planning commission last fall and was approved by the Township Board at the Monday’s meeting.
“There has never been a library in Addison Township,” Baldiga said. “We have always been in rented or borrowed spaces. This is a dedicated library that the community is going to own. It will be here for 100 years … that is why I am stoked.”
More information about the Addison Township Public Library project can be found at www.letsbuildalibrary.org.
By Dean Vaglia