Jack O’Malley, Copy Editor
The Drake Community Library (DCL) has new hope for expansion with the recent generous donation of $169,000 that was made in December of last year. The estate of Don Puls, a farmer and a lifelong reader from the Malcom, Iowa area, is responsible for this large bequest.
The money will not all be spent at once with $80,000 being put towards an endowment for the library to use for many years to come. This fund will be managed by the Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation the fund with the plan of reinvesting some portion of the earnings back into the DCL each year. The rest will go to more immediate usage with both ongoing projects and future plans for improving the library. The DCL board consulted its staff on what way to best use the money.
“One of the big things is a three year project to update the nonfiction section for children. The children’s librarians brought [this issue] to the board … the collection is very out of date, some of the books are from the ’60s and have terrible graphics, something that a modern child might find very boring,” said Katherine McClelland, the DCL Board President.
Other plans for the DCL include computer classes for patrons, contributing to the digitization of the Grinnell Herald Register and many more projects.
“Almost every group talked about the need for training in computers because the library is the source of computer access for a number of people who do not have a lot of experience with computers, not having one at home,” McClelland said. “So the librarians end up being computer consultants which is … not really part of their job description.”
One project that is especially relevant to the money that has been bequest upon the DCL is the expansion of the library’s large print collection. Puls was an avid reader of these books and frequently received deliveries of large print material from Brenda McDonald, a DCL library assistant. This service is very important for a number of DCL patrons in the immediate area.
“Those books get a lot of circulation so it’s a special area that needs its own budget and needs support,” McClelland said.
The board has decided to not spend all of the money that isn’t going into the endowment right away with the idea that it will be used for projects that will come up in the near future.