Bids sought for library renovation

The Beck Bookman Library Board of Trustees is seeking bids for a general contractor to construct a new front entrance at the library in Holton.

The new interior entrance, or vestibule, is phase one of a large renovation at the library at 420 W. Fourth St. that will involve at least three phases, according to Amy Austin, library director.

Two new doors will be added that will exceed Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant standards, and the entryway will be new construction into the building, which will create a “cubby” in the current large print section.

“There will be an actual entryway. It’s going to be way more economical and energy efficient,” Austin said. “It won’t change the parking lot spaces. Everything there will remain the same.”

On average, the library has about 100 visitors a day, Austin said

Sabatini Architects of Lawrence has been retained by the board of trustees for the project, and the business has developed a plan for the first phase of the renovation.

A general contractor is being sought to construct the new main entry as designed by Sabatini Architects, Austin said.

Bids for the phase one project must be submitted by Nov. 21, with vestibule construction work to begin, preferably, no later than Dec. 5. A letter of interest must be submitted by Nov. 14 to Austin at 

“It’s an accelerated bid because we want to get things started in our 125th year. We’ve had a couple of setbacks in the past few years like everybody else but we’re ready to go,” she said. 

Contractors may also contact Austin at 785-364-3532. 

The Bookman Library was established in 1897 by Holton’s first literary group, the Bookman Club, which had organized the preceding year, it was reported. The city of Holton took over ownership of the library in 1919 following a public vote that would enable the city to levy taxes in support of the library. 

Several rented spaces gave the library a physical location until 1952, when the library’s current location at 420 W. Fourth St. in Holton was built and occupied. 

It was renamed Beck Bookman Library in honor of Major and Mrs. Milton Moses Beck, pioneer residents of the town and founders of The Holton Recorder newspaper, and the Bookman Club.

In 2015, the library’s board of trustees purchased the house and lot north of the library for future expansion for $98,356.  

The board of trustees is in the design process of creating a master plan for the remodel and addition to the library that will include remodeling 3,600 square-feet to include more community space, including flex rooms and computer workstations, as well as expanding the adult collections.

A 5,200 square-foot addition will be constructed that will include a large community meeting room, kitchenette, restrooms, storage and expanded children and teen rooms. 

The project is being funded through the library’s building fund.

“Over the years, the board has invested and saved so our building fund has grown over the last couple of years,” Austin said. 

The Beck Bookman Library building fund is set up through the Jackson County Community Foundation, which is hosting its annual Thoughtful Giving Day from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday (Nov. 13) at the Holton Community Theatre. 

Austin said that the library’s goal is to raise $30,000 for the vestibule project during the Thoughtful Giving Day. 

“We are Jackson County’s only library, placing the patrons at the center of the community and passionately developing the next generation of readers and leaders equipped with essential skills and information,” she said. “We currently have approximately 4,000 registered users.”

Tuesday, Nov. 29, is National Giving Tuesday and the library is also accepting donations that day through the Northeast Kansas Library Foundation at

“We’re hoping for a big turnout for both days of giving,” Austin said. “Donations can be given directly to the library through a check or cash at any time.”

The Friends of Beck Bookman Library (FOBBL) is also an active organization that hosts events to raise funds for the library. 

“FOBBL has really done a lot the last couple of years, and they continue to raise funds for the building fund. So that’s very exciting that we have them working so hard for us,” Austin said.  

FOBBL hosted a “Polar Express” event last year for Christmas, and this year, members of the organization are hosting a “Grinch Experience” for children five years of age and older from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Dec. 3, at Holton Community Theatre.

During the event, children will make crafts, meet the Grinch, participate in a scavenger hunt, decorate cookies and more.

Tickets are now available at the FOBBL website,

The Holton Recorder

109 W. Fourth St.
Holton, KS 66436
Phone: 785-364-3141

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