Take Your Child to the Library

Libraries are great for children, and it is not just because this a place where they can learn to read.

Read more and see why you should take your child to the library!

“I learned to print my name almost before I could read it — for the sole purpose of getting my own library card. I was so young I had to stand on tiptoe to see over the check-out desk and hand the librarian my application. When the librarian, in turn, handed me a library card with my own name typed on it — not my mother’s — I was ecstatic. I literally wore out the card in a few months, off and running toward becoming a lifelong reader.

Recognizing the role the library played in my becoming a book lover (and a career children’s editor), I herded my kids into the library as soon as they could toddle. Libraries had changed a lot, of course, but — just as I did — my kids quickly felt at home there. The children’s librarian came to know them, helped them select books, and, even better, encouraged them to also choose their own books. Libraries have played such an essential role in our family that I’m almost gobsmacked when…Read more

Don’t forget about the library

Google and the internet can not teach us everything we need to know.

Also, what if this so sacred internet access is not available to you? The library is the great equalizer and source of education in our communities. Don’t forget about the library!

“Libraries are at risk because we have forgotten how essential they are. In the era of Google and Amazon, those with means can access information with greater ease and speed than ever before. As a consequence, in cities and towns across the world the same debate rages each year when budget time rolls around: What’s the purpose of a library in a digital age? Put more harshly, why should we spend tax dollars, in tough economic times, on a library when our readers can instantly get so much of what they need and want from the Internet? As the bulk of funding for police, fire departments, and schools – all necessary services – has become the responsibility of state and local governments, municipal leaders have been forced to ask a question that library supporters aren’t prepared to answer: are libraries necessary?

We keep having this debate because we have a very simplistic and skewed idea of why libraries matter. For most of us, libraries are good for one thing: getting information.

But most information today can be readily accessed in digital form, through computers or smartphones. How many times recently have you had a debate with a friend, only to resolve the dispute within seconds…Read more


Open a book.

Open an iPad.

Open a system for comic book design.

Open a conversation.

Open possibility.

The library is more than just books. The library can open the world to you through technology, books, programs, and more.

“BOSTON — An old joke about libraries goes like this: A boy walks into a library and asks for a burger and fries. “Young man!” the startled librarian reprimands. “You are in a library.” So the boy repeats his order, only this time, he whispers.

So much has changed in libraries in recent years that such a scene may not be so far-fetched. Many libraries have become bustling community centers where talking out loud and even eating are perfectly acceptable.

The Boston Public Library, which was founded in 1848 and is the oldest public urban library in the country, is moving rapidly in that direction. With a major renovation underway, this Copley Square institution is breaking out of its…Read more 


Come one, come all!

Your public library is one of the most helpful and well loved institutions in your city. Libraries bring people together. They represent the diverse community and can promote equality. Everyone is welcomed and can be helped by their local library.

Come one, come all!

“The public library has features that make it different from any other institution. It is public, in the true democratic sense of the word, and it is free. The value of being free cannot be overestimated. You cannot hang out in the local coffee shop for free. You cannot hang out in the diner for free. You cannot hang out at the senior citizens center for free if you are not a senior. Yes, you can pass the time in the park or along the banks of the river, but not in December, especially not in Chicago. But you can hang out in a library no matter who you are, no matter what your income, no matter how you are dressed, no matter what your interest. The library’s philosophy is simple: Come one, come all.

The wide array of things that libraries offer means that they reach all levels of society. They make society better than it would be if left to its own devices. Libraries are a subtle, almost cunning, bulwark against the racial and socioeconomic segregation that society naturally gravitates toward, even when it does not do so out of malice. People congregate in libraries in a way that…Read more

Libraries Aren’t Going Anywhere

Librarians are aware that technology is booming; they know because of our tech crazed world the library must adapt. Libraries still hold relevance in today’s society. Libraries are increasing the amount of digital media, learning about different new electronics (so they can help people with their tech problems), and using social media to their advantage.

Libraries aren’t going anywhere.

“It’s no secret that digital technology ranging from e-books to social media is forcing public libraries to innovate and adapt, and patrons are beginning to rethink what defines a library. For instance, a 2012 survey from Pew Research found that while many patrons still want to use libraries for borrowing books, they’re also increasingly thinking of them as community spaces that enable access to technology and digital literacy for residents.

Two libraries that are adapting to 21st century technologies are the Kansas City Public Library (KCPL) and the Lewis and Clark Library in Montana. Former and current Big Reads grantees respectively, these two libraries are using technology in… Read more


About the Aberdeen Public Library Foundation

The Aberdeen Public Library Foundation was formed in 1993 as a way to accept and manage gifts bequeathed to the Library. Since that time, the assets have grown to over $1.1 million. A portion of the assets were used to help purchase the land for the new library in 2011 ($350,000) in conjunction with the City of Aberdeen. The Foundation has created a Friends Society and solicits members to give on an annual basis. These assets are conjoined with the total Foundation assets to provide ongoing support to the library. The Library makes special requests of the Foundation to help bring noted authors to Aberdeen or to help sponsor special events.

The Library Foundation will invest a portion of its assets into the new building, but will retain an endowment to perpetually fund technology needs above and beyond the city’s budget. A library of the future, especially one rooted in the digital, technological era, must never skip a beat when it comes to accessing technology.

In 2015 the Foundation launched the Beyond Books, Providing Access for All, campaign to raise $2.1 million to help the city of Aberdeen afford the new $8 million library. To become a member of the Friends Society, stop into the library to pick up a brochure. To make a gift to the Beyond Books campaign contact Troy McQuillen (605-226-3481).

The Foundation is a 501c(3) non profit and is not affiliated with the city or the library legally or financially.

PRESIDENT, Troy McQuillen (troy@mcquillencreative.com)
TREASURER, Lavonne Miller
SECRETARY, Elizabeth Bollinger
Ken Krause
Jess Falken



Proposed Floor Plan for Aberdeen’s New Public Library

After much discussion, meeting, planning, and studying, here is the proposed floor plan for Aberdeen’s New Public Library. It is all on one level now, with a large, interactive children’s area that opens up to an outdoor play area of over 800 square feet. Teens will have a dedicated space and the adult area will be enormous, wide open and full of natural light. Most unique is the multipurpose kitchen area that will be great for demonstrations and classes. Take a look!

Library Oblique

Once the construction documents are finished, the Aberdeen City Council will vote to advertise for bids. When the bids come in, and they are within the targeted budget, the city council will again vote to finance and construct the new library. This could all take place by this fall. Construction could start in spring of 2016.

Many are asking how they can help. Write letters to the American News, and city councilors. Visit the city council at 5:30 on Monday evenings to speak in support of the new library. There is a public forum at the beginning of each council meeting. Just sign in and say a few quick words about how you use the library and how much better Aberdeen will be with a new, modern facility (or say what you like!). We want to keep positive momentum going forward.

During this time frame, the Library Foundation will be raising $2.1 million to help the city afford the $8 million total project. Yes, money will need to be raised. We will be asking the Aberdeen public and business community to support the cause. If possible, get your place of employment to mount a donation from employees, get your social clubs to contribute, have day care kids save their pennies. We hope to raise a substantial portions from area foundations and key individuals, but we want everyone to have chance to be a part of the Beyond Books Campaign. You don’t need anyone’s permission to raise money, but just keep us in the loop. We may have some prizes or swag we can offer.

More details to come on the floor plan for Aberdeen’s new public library.

Your New Aberdeen Public Library Answers

Is the new library going to be the same size as the current library? The new library will have over 28,000 square feet of usable indoor and outdoor space. The current library is about 15,000 on the main floor, most all of which is jammed packed. The basement is about the same square footage, however only about 6,000 square feet is usable for library programming. The new library will be all on one floor so there will be no wasted space for stairwells or duplicitous utilities.

Is the new library a waste of money? No. The new library will be like the aquatics center, the downtown Streetscape, the YMCA, Swisher Field, the ARCC, and the Police Station, which are all recent additions to our city that have helped attract new companies and residents to town. Even if the new library is not built, your taxes will not be reduced, nor will you receive a refund. It is being funded with existing sales tax revue which is continually coming into the city. The new library, along with these other successes, contributes to a progressive quality of life for everyone living in the Aberdeen area. Anything that enhances our quality of life and educational opportunities is not a waste of money, especially when it’s funded with existing tax revenue. Read how our library is used.

What’s wrong with our current library? The current library has no more room to grow. It was not designed for computers and now we have no room to add more. The bathrooms are not ADA compliant, restricting access to some. There is no more room to add materials. In fact, our collection has been kept artificially low due to insufficient space to house everything required for a growing community. Our library offerings are less per capita when compared to other South Dakota towns. This is due to usable space, layout, and infrastructure. Plus, flooding from the roof, the windows and the basement may jeopardize the investment in our collection and non-replaceable historic ephemera and books…Read More

In the age of technology, why do we even need libraries?  Just because books and documents are offered online, that does not mean they will be free or that a person would be able to access the whole thing. Along with that, access to the internet is not always free. There are many people who do not have internet in their home and go to the library to pay their bills, shop online, or just check out their Facebook. The library is also more than just books, offer different classes, access to clubs, and many other things that the internet cannot offer… Watch this video to learn more

When do we get to vote on the library? There is no vote required to build the new library. The public can refer the decision to a public vote after the city council agrees to build the new library. The city council cannot bring the decision to a public vote.

When will the new library be built? The new library is scheduled to break ground in 2016 and will probably open in the spring of 2017.

What is the status of the process? The city council has approved the funding of the new library. Next is construction bids then ground breaking.

Why don’t we spend the money on roads instead? The new library will be paid for with a 20-year bond. The bond payment will be between $400,000-$500,00 per year. Presently the city of Aberdeen spends over $7 million PER YEAR on our roads. We can get a brand new, $8 million library in one year.

Will my taxes go up? No, the new library will be paid for with money earned from sales tax revenue. This revenue funds a major portion of Aberdeen’s improvements each year and the bond payment of $400,000+ will come out of this fund. The YMCA will be paid off and the amount for the bond payment for that will be reallocated to the new library. Funds will not be taken away from any other need in our community. No new taxes are required to build this. And even if it isn’t built, no one will receive a tax credit, nor will taxes go down.

Where will the new library be built? Land has already been purchased for the new library. It is located on one entire city block surrounded by Washington Street, 4th Avenue SE, Jay Street and 3rd Avenue SE, directly east of the Federal Building.

How much will the new library cost? The new library is budgeted to cost $8 million. The Foundation will donate $2.1 million towards that to reduce the city’s contribution and to help create a durable, well-designed facility that will serve Aberdeen for generations. The City’s cost is about $5.9 million, the Foundation wanted to ensure an amazing facility so a $2.1 million challenge was added to allow the business and citizens of Aberdeen to help in this effort.

How can I donate to the new Aberdeen Public Library? All forms of financial gifts to the Beyond Books campaign are welcome. This includes cash, real estate, farmland, bonds and stocks. Pick up a pledge form at the library or contact Library Foundation President, Troy McQuillen at 226-3481 to learn about making a gift.

Why can’t we remodel the current library? The basement would have to be rebuilt, the roof replaced, all the windows replaced, all the bathrooms re-engineered, the HVAC would be re-engineered and rebuilt, all the offices moved, all the wiring would be redone, and more space would have to be added. If every single problem was fixed in our new library and every square inch of the basement was utilized, we would potentially attract a lot more people. However, the parking lot can only accommodate about 60 cars, which would once again, limit access to the library, not the point of an improved facility. An adjacent building would need to be purchased for parking. The costs may exceed the $5.9 million the city is currently committing to the project. The new library will have spaces for 100 cars as well as lots of street parking. The total costs associated with a remodel would be extensive, and yet we’d still have to use the basement, which is not an inspiring place to learn, meet, and connect.

Why Build A New Library In The Digital Age?

The Internet encourages, not replaces, library use. Every time more Internet terminals are added, the use of everything else goes UP – more books checked out, more browsing, more magazines read, more reference questions, more program attendance. 

Our community needs a new library in the digital age.

The children’s storytime – featuring real live people from our own community – is the single most potent strategy for sowing literacy in our community. Study after study show that early childhood literacy is a predictor of school achievement and future success. Fundamental cognitive and language skills are developed before children reach school age. Summer reading programs help to assure language and reading skills do not diminish over the summer months.

The library is an anchor store and traffic generator. Libraries pull a cross-section of the public, all ages, all day long, through our doors. Studies show significant economic benefits to communities with modern, exciting libraries.

Library buildings are a bridge over the digital divide. Libraries are about access, and our record of allowing digitally disadvantaged people – poor, young, elderly, etc. – to use public technology to bootstrap themselves out of technological ghettos is real. Further, a library offers the expertise of trained library personnel who can help patrons interpret and qualify information in internet searches.

Libraries foster community through providing meeting space and lifelong learning opportunities. Libraries serve the role of common, safe and neutral ground. Libraries manifest and reinforce community values – a tangible sign of a community’s commitment to individual inquiry, a safety net for the young and old, a secular sanctuary for social contact or for private pondering.

A new library can be the center of Aberdeen’s workforce development. Library resources can create strong ties to area businesses by offering basic computer knowledge, language learning assistance, etc. to strengthen the workforce. A new library can also offer support to small business by stocking tools for starting a new business specific to the region, providing specific support for micro- businesses (typically in home), computer/online access, and networking.

In the workforce recruitment game, the community with the right mix of jobs, amenities and quality of life, wins.

We Are Not Meeting The Needs Of Our Community

The current library building is not able to meet the needs of our community, in both Aberdeen and the surrounding areas. We are not able to live up to our mission of providing the citizens of Aberdeen access to many things. In fact, access is restricted and limited due to the current building. At its present configuration, and parking lot size, many library services and programs are being denied to a growing population. The layout of the building has been changed and reconfigured time and time again to accommodate a growing population and increased usage. Entry ways were taken over for reading alcoves, the bookmobile garage was converted to staff offices and computers were simply put wherever they fit.

When benchmarked against other communities our size, and other communities in South Dakota, our library lacks in the number of available items and services per capita. This is the result of a current building which is poorly configured for modern library usage, lacks functional space, lacks parking spaces, and is plagued by water infiltration. Our current library does not reflect the needs of a growing community or our values as a community.

Limited Collections: lack of shelving space limits the size and diversity of the various collections (books, CDs, magazines, DVDs, reference materials, and historic archives).

Shortage of Computers: Many of Aberdeen’s citizens do not have access to computers and the current computer stations provided at the library are not enough to meet demand.

Scarce Seating: The current library does not provide enough inviting space for reading, studying or gathering in groups throughout the building.

Lack of Program and Meeting Space: Current meeting and programming space is in the basement with no exterior windows, low lighting, and can only be accessed during normal hours of operation. Use of the space is now limited to library programs, despite requests from outside groups and clubs.

Reduced Children’s Programs: Children’s early literacy programs are filled to capacity at the current library; parents and children are turned away due to the lack of space. Flooding has been so regular that the Children’s room has been permanently abandoned. Children must now share space with everyone else, leaving little space for engaging programs and events. Families report that they feel uncomfortable exposing their kids to others who might want to be reading or studying, so they leave as quickly as they can.

Water Infiltration: Chronic water infiltration, including leaks from the roof and windows, have compounded the flooding that has occurred in the basement on numerous occasions. Mold, dirt, humidity and the ongoing threat of flooding have rendered only 30% of the basement usable for library activity (meeting rooms).Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 1.35.17 PM

Aged Infrastructure: Constructed in 1963, the current library building is not in full compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act and lacks the electrical, cabling, and internet services required by any modern-day structure.

An Uninspiring Setting: The current library has low ceilings, cramped quarters, bad lighting, obscured windows, and a hodge-podge of furnishings. This does not provide for a space that energizes and inspires patrons. It is not inviting.

Limited Access to Technology: The so called, “Digitial Divide” is very present in Aberdeen and more and more people are wishing to learn and access computer/internet-based technology and services, but simply don’t know how, or can’t afford the technology for their home. Insufficient computer devices and work stations prevent many from bridging this digital divide.