"We're debt free!" That's how Rolla Public Library Director Cathy Smith describes the financial condition of the library following the recent payment in full of the library's debt incurred for the purchase and renovation of the children's library building.
In 2006, the library purchased the building on Pine Street directly to the north of the main library for the purpose of providing children's services. The library borrowed $200,000 for the purchase.
The remaining cost was funded through donations from individuals and area service clubs.
The debt was in the form of a lease purchase arrangement with monthly payments scheduled to continue for 20 years.
This year, after only seven years, the library board elected to pay off the entire remaining debt, and the final payment was recently completed.
Library Board President Bill Hickle thanked donors to the children's library project, saying, "The people of Rolla really came together to support the children's library project, and for that, we are very grateful.
"We're fortunate to live in a community that values reading, learning and literacy," Hickle said. "The library board is grateful for the help and support of area residents and service clubs who gave so generously to this project."
The debt payoff caps a busy four years for the library.
Shortly after purchasing and remodeling the children's library building, the library completely remodeled the main building, finishing that project in 2012.
Smith commented that the absence of debt will allow the library to provide services for the community with funds that would have otherwise been used for interest payments.
"We're upgrading computers for the use of our library users, filling in gaps in our overall collection of books and materials and broadening our services for library customers of all ages," she said. "Meanwhile, this year we've served more children and youth through our summer reading program than ever before."
Ralph Alexander, president of the Friends of the Rolla Public Library, noted in an email in June that the Friends' book sales played a large role in helping to pay off the debt.