The Fresno County Public Library is asking the community to jump aboard the fundraising efforts for the new Clovis Library.
The fundraising campaign, On Track for the New Clovis Library, needs to garner about $4 million in donations to provide the furniture, fixtures and interior work of the proposed 30,000-square-foot building.
The Clovis Library at 1155 5th Street is the second busiest branch in the county although it is one of the smallest at just 8,600 square feet, said county librarian Laurel Prysiazny.
The new building, more than triple the current branch’s size, is budgeted to cost about $12 million.
“We have $8 million funded from Measure B property tax reserves. The other $4 million we’re looking to the community to help,” Prysiazny said.
The Clovis Regional Library will be built where the Clovis Lumber Yard was demolished on the north side of 3rd Street, east of the Old Town Trail just east of Clovis Avenue. Alongside it, a $2 million transportation hub will be built, in addition to a $6 million new senior activity center, city officials said.
Like the Betty Rodriguez Regional Library, Fresno’s newest branch at Cedar and Shields avenues, the Clovis Regional Library will offer a quiet room, rooms for small meetings, a teen space, an early learning center and more.
“I think it’s going to be an amazing facility,” Prysiazny said. “Thirty thousand feet will give us more of everything. We’ll get double or triple the amount of PCs, we’ll get a meeting room that will hold at least 100 to 150 people, we’ll have an innovation lab where you can do or make anything you want that’s within reason.”
The innovation lab, also known as a makerspace, is a place where members of the community can come and tinker, using the library’s 3D printer, sewing machines, Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) kits and more, Prysiazny said.
“If you have that quest to explore or to try and create something, we’re going to have the space for you,” she said. “There are robotics kits, so if you and your family want to come in and build a robot, we’ve got it for you. This library is going to have all of the amenities that a library should have, that most of ours don’t have.”
Noting that Clovis is a very young community, Prysiazny said one critical component of the new Clovis Regional Library will be an early learning center intended for children up to 5 years old.
“From age 0 to 5 is when kids are really learning and developing,.” she said. “This is where mom and dad work together with the child, so a lot of it is that infant-parent bonding.”
The center will include toys for tactile learning and mimicry, including a kitchenette where children can pretend to cook and serve like their parents.
“We will have classes where we teach parents the importance of reading to your child and speaking to your child,” Prysiazny added. “We now know that the more you speak to your child directly from the day they’re born, the more vocabulary they’ll develop and the more successful they’ll be. ”
One local nonprofit has already stepped up to fund the early learning center.
“Clovis Rotary has come in to fund one of the most critical pieces of the library,” Prysiazny said.
The club focuses on helping youth, so donating $10,000 to fund the center came naturally, said Clovis Rotarian Paul Nibur.
“We support 13 Clovis Unified elementary schools by giving dictionaries to students — each third grader gets his or her very own dictionary,” Nibur said. “So we thought donating to the library was a really good fit. I approached the club and everyone agreed.”
The donations will come in installments over three years, Nibur said.
A sign with the club’s name and the famous Rotary cog will hang over the center, Prysiazny said.
“It’s going to be really neat. I’m so grateful for them for having stepped up to do that. It’s amazing,” she said, noting that five other early learning centers in various library branches have been funded by nonprofit agencies.
“Anyone can donate,” Prysiazny said. “It can be a penny, it could be $100,000. What this is really about is building a legacy.”
The Clovis chapter of the Friends of the Fresno County Public Library has already pledged $200,000, Prysiazny said.
The Foundation for Fresno County Public Library will hold the Boots and Books Hoedown fundraiser Oct. 1 at P-R Farms. The event will include dancing and games, Prysiazny said.
“It will be one big party to celebrate the Clovis Library and get people to contribute to the library,” she said.
The train-themed fundraising campaign — monikers for some of the giving levels include passenger, conductor, station master and rail baron — might roll into part of the library’s theme.
“The library will have a western theme and will likely include a train in it, somewhere, if we can incorporate it,” Prysiazny said. “I love the idea of a huge train in the children’s library that the kids can climb on and play in and learn about the history of Clovis. Clovis was a hub for railway. I also want a big slide that will simulate the flumes that came from the mountains.”
Prysiazny estimates the library will open in 2018, about 18 months after breaking ground.
“I can hardly wait to see us break ground,” she said. “(A larger Clovis library) is long overdue.”
To donate to the Clovis Regional Library Capital Campaign, pick up a contribution card at any library.
Checks may be mailed to Foundation for Fresno County Public Library, 2420 Mariposa St., Fresno, CA 93721. Designate “Clovis Library” on the check’s memo line.
Donations may also be made online by visiting www.fresnolibraryfoundation.org/donate.