Library meeting rooms conceptual drawing

This conceptual drawing by MSR Design shows new meeting spaces and study areas could be part of the renovation and expansion planned for L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, 400 Eau Claire St.

EAU CLAIRE -- The L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library is reaching out to Eau Claire area educators, inviting support for its Story Builder library expansion campaign.

The campaign is pursuing private funding to add physical space and new amenities to the library’s 44-year-old downtown building, aiming to accommodate a surging increase in interest and use. As part of those efforts, the library has an opportunity for local teachers, school administration and support staff to pool individual donations into one large gift of $50,000. As part of the gift, the group would secure naming rights for a new youth study room in their honor.

Eau Claire is investing $11.5 million to revamp the library’s mechanical systems while the Story Builder campaign is raising an additional $7 million in private funds to add major items such as a third floor with a 200-seat event room, a new hands-on learning lab, a special workshop space, a drive-thru pickup window and modernized study spaces.

As the most visited place in downtown Eau Claire, in non-pandemic times, the library sees more than 400,000 visits each year (1,200 visitors a day) from the library’s service area of 86,000 people.

The $7 million goal must be reached by the end of the year so construction work can happen alongside the city’s upgrades, set to begin in the spring. The campaign has reached nearly $3.5 million from over 200 donors.

Anyone interested in learning more about the campaign can visit ecpubliclibrary.info/storybuilder.

Questions about gifts and naming rights can be directed to deputy library director Kimberly Hennings at storybuilder@eauclaire.lib.wi.us or 715-839-6225.

Pledges and gifts can be sent to the Eau Claire Community Foundation, which supports the philanthropic portion of the Story Builder expansion campaign: 306 S. Barstow St. Suite 104, Eau Claire, WI 54701; eccfwi.org; 715-552-3801; info@eccfwi.org.

For other library information, call 715-839-5004, email librarian@eauclaire.lib.wi.us, or chat with staff via the library’s website at ecpubliclibrary.info.