Rock Island to consolidate libraries

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – Changes are coming for Rock Island Libraries.

The library board’s president said they unanimously decided to try and consolidate they city’s three libraries to the downtown location.

Frequent library visitors at Rock Island’s two satellite branches said they are concerned. Some said if this change happens they won’t be checking out as many books.

“We probably wouldn’t visit the library as often,” said Andrea Bomelyn, a 30/31 Rock Island Library patron.

Bomelyn’s said her daughter just got into reading.

“When she’s in school they can check out a book or two, but during the summer on breaks she can’t do that,” Bomelyn said.

Lucky for her she lives pretty close to one of Rock Island’s satellite library branches.

“We live just a block away and my oldest daughter goes to Eugene Field, so it’s pretty convenient to pop over here,” Bomelyn said.

But potential changes threaten her convenient location.

Rock Island’s library board said library costs are going up, but their revenue to provide, is going down. Their solution?  Close the two satellite locations on Ridgewood Road and 30th Street, and consolidate to the main building downtown.

“Honestly we probably wouldn’t go to the downtown library just for the simple fact that it’s more of a drive like we can walk here,” Bomelyn said.

She isn’t the only one with concerns.

Another 30/31 patron, Cyd Humphyres said, consolidation could mean no more Rock Island libraries for her.

“I tend to get a lot of books here, and it would affect me a lot cause it’s close and the downtown Moline one is close, but North’s not so close for me so that would affect me greatly,” she said.

On the southwest end of Rock Island Betty Buxton expressed how essential that location is for her.

She doesn’t have internet at her home, so when she needs to looks something up, she makes the short trip over to Ridgewood Road.

“I don’t use (internet) that much, but here I can just hop in the car, it’s five minutes away, and I can get on the web and look up directions,” Buxton said.

And librarians are concerned as well. They said many patrons don’t have cars, and won’t be able to go downtown. Even Buxton who does have a car said she’s not sure how often she’ll be able to get to the 19th street location.

“I would have to stop at Moline on the way to work or go downtown, which I probably wouldn’t do until the weekend,” she said.

Nothing is finalized at this time. Board President Kevin Koski said they’re still in the very early stages of this idea. Closing these two locations would mean expanding the main library. To do that, they would need land and money.

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