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Update on Library Service

Update on Library Service for Residents
in Northeastern St. Charles County

The St. Charles City-County Library would like to take this opportunity to address questions and allay concerns regarding Library services for the residents of Portage Des Sioux/West Alton area.

In late May, original flooding reports indicated that the Library building would probably not be in jeopardy. On the evening of Tuesday, May 28 when new reports indicated that water might get close to the Library building, staff were instructed to move items off the floor, unplug all electrical, and leave the building. Overnight on May 28 the river rose faster and higher than expected. On May 29, as the possibility of a levee breach increased and residents hurried to save their belongings, local authorities requested that travel into the area be restricted to only what was absolutely necessary. Not wanting to impede the evacuation efforts in any way, the Library complied with the request and stayed out of the area. Library materials and the building were fully insured.

Some residents of the County have inquired about historical materials such as marriage and baptismal records, plat maps, and historical books.  All of the district's local history materials are housed in the Local History and Genealogy collection at the Kathryn Linnemann Branch. Any such materials at other branches are duplicates. The Portage Des Sioux branch had no original birth or marriage records and no unique items of that nature.  All of the information continues to be available in the library's collection. 

The $80,000 of insurance money paid to the Library for damages, has been deposited in the Library’s general fund. These funds will be used to help restore Library service to the Portage Des Sioux/West Alton area.

The Library is continuing to research options and costs to restore Library service to this area. The Library has researched rebuilding on current lot and received a ballpark cost estimate of $150,000 to $200,000 (exclusive of contents) to rebuild the current structure at a height meeting FEMA flood insurance standards and ADA accessibility requirements. Other possible options for future Library service to this area include: bookmobile service, a mobile library where customers would have access to technology and be able to browse a small collection, and partnering with the local School District to provide Library service.

Until a more permanent Library service solution can be put in place, the Library has offered residents the opportunity to request free home delivery of library materials through Library to You - Materials by Mail.

Library Director Jason Kuhl, Deputy Director Laurie St. Laurent and members of the Library’s administrative team have been in contact with Portage Des Sioux Mayor Mark Warner and West Alton Mayor William Richter to discuss possible solutions. The Library is committed to providing service to our taxpayers in the northeast region of St. Charles County. Library officials will continue to actively work on a fiscally responsible solution that will restore service to this area.