ROBERTS — The remaining inventory of books at the shuttered Roberts Public Library will be given away to anyone who wants them during an open house/liquidation event on Saturday, May 18.
The giveaway runs from 8 a.m. to noon at the facility at 108 E. Green St. in downtown Roberts, with an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 books — if not more — available for the public to take, Village Board President Rick Flessner said.
“Whatever they want to take, they can,” Flessner said.
Cardboard boxes will be provided, Flessner said, adding that “we’ll have maintenance people available if they need help carrying things out,” as well.
Also on hand to assist with the event will be Flessner and other village board members, as well as ordinance enforcement officer Janet Walker.
There will be no charge for the books, although donations to the village will be accepted, Flessner said.
The village board decided last September to permanently close the library, which had served the Ford County community of 362 people for the past decade. The library had already been closed since October 2016 following the discovery of rotted floor joists underneath a stage on its north end.
Flessner said that besides the condition of the library building, other factors that contributed to the board’s decision to keep the facility closed included a musty smell in the building, a lack of usage of the facility by the public, and the cost of operating it.
Flessner said most of the library’s books remain. Some paperbacks have been donated to the Ford County Jail in Paxton for use by inmates, and some romance novels have been given the Villas of Holly Brook assisted-living facility in Gibson City for use by its residents, Flessner said.
Flessner said the hope is that the rest of the inventory will be cleared out Saturday.
Meanwhile, the village plans to move a table and chairs at the library to the Roberts Gym. The table, built by Roberts resident Steve Fox, is designed to be used by children, Flessner said, “so perhaps they’ll have a young person’s program or something” at the gym.
Plans for the building itself are not yet known, although Flessner said he expects it will eventually be sold by the village, which had purchased it for $1 from the Living Word Church in Roberts many years ago. Flessner said he and Living Word Church member Randy Berger plan to do some work on the building before any potential sale would be pursued.
“The library itself has a rubber roof on it,” Flessner said. “It’s in good shape, other than there were problems with the floor.”
Plans for Saturday’s event at the library were finalized during the village board’s May 6 meeting.
Water committee meeting set
Also at the meeting, Flessner said he and village water department employee Paul Theesfield and Trustee Matt Vaughan met on April 25 with Joe Mikulecky, a water-tower inspector for the Champaign-based Farnsworth Group engineering firm, to inspect the village’s water tower.
Mikulecky’s report on the inspection will be discussed at a meeting of the board’s water committee scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 15, at the Village Hall.
The inspection was completed in order for the village to proceed with the repainting of the water tower, and Flessner said the board is expected to solicit bids for the project following its June meeting.
It will be the second time the board has sought bids for the project. Last year, the board accepted a bid from Putnam County to do the work, but then it was later discovered through testing that the existing chipped paint on the tower contained lead, so the project needed to be rebid to include lead paint removal, Flessner said.
The village has applied for grants for the project through the offices of state Rep. Tom Bennett, R-Gibson City, and state Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, according to Flessner.
Serving on the water committee are Taylor Behrens, Sara Waterson and Vaughan.
Also at the meeting:
➜ The board learned that various streets will be repaired using $15,129 in motor-fuel tax revenue. Joe Grimm of the Farnsworth Group was in attendance to collect signatures from village officials on MFT-related paperwork.
➜ The board learned that Kathy Perkinson had been appointed to a vacant seat on the Roberts Gym board.
➜ Theesfield’s report said 667,800 gallons of water were pumped in the village in April, down from 680,100 in March.
➜ Theesfield said he would be flushing hydrants on Monday, May 13.
➜ The board approved the canvassed results of the April 2 consolidated election.
➜ Kelly Kief was recognized for her 18 years of service to the village. Also, thanks was given to Morgan Behrens for agreeing to serve as treasurer.
➜ The public was reminded that the village’s Cleanup Day will be Saturday, June 1.
➜ The public was reminded that a car show sponsored by Living Word Church in Roberts and a pavilion dance/show will be held Saturday, July 20. The band Statesboro with Venessa Driggers will be performing.