Ellie Fowler wants Moody residents to enter the community library without fear of a mouse sighting.

“This building will never be beautiful,” said Fowler, Moody Community Library board chairwoman.

Library board members have launched a fundraising effort to raise $100,000 to $300,000 during the next five years to build a library that serves the area more like a community center.

Built in 1916, board members say the library off Fifth Street in downtown Moody has long exceeded its expected lifespan, and future maintenance costs will far outweigh costs associated with a new structure.

Most of the buildings in the city’s downtown area have flat roofs, including the library, which can lead to leakage problems, board vice president R.S. Gates said.

Between 300 and 350 people visit the library every month, which is open 20 hours a week, board fundraising chairperson Jane Gates said.

The numbers are even higher during summer months, when the library offers a variety of children’s programs, Fowler said.

R.S. Gates said the board wants a more up to date library with offerings in technology and other services. Gates said the board thinks the future of libraries holds far more than books.

Fowler said board members envision a library with space for a community room, tables for patrons to play games, more space to utilize technology and the library’s free Wi-Fi.

R.S. Gates said they would also like to dedicate an area of the new building for a makerspace to allow visitors to teach and learn new skills. Last year, a group used part of the library to make pillow cases they donated to Child Protective Services.

Fowler said the library is a hub for activities in Moody, and the board wants to expand on that role.

Internet access at the library is one of its most-used resources, R.S. Gates said.

“If you’re in Waco, you just go over to Target or sit outside Sam’s Club or something like that,” he said. “Out in the Moody area there is no public Wi-Fi.”

$50,000 grant

The library recently received a $50,000 grant from the Tocker Foundation, which allowed board members to purchase some new furniture, Jane Gates said.

Books, movies and furniture have been moved to one side of the library while the room where the new furniture will go gets a new paint job ahead of the furniture’s expected arrival Thursday, she said. The new furniture will be moveable and carried over to the new location, she said.

“We’re in an old building downtown, and it’s in bad shape,” Jane Gates said. “We’ve tried to locate other places downtown where we could build and haven’t found anything.”

Jane Gates said the board has met with the nearby First United Methodist Church, which has agreed to sell a plot it owns for the new library.

The library, which has one full-time employee, operates on $7,500 from the city, $5,000 from McLennan County and through donations, fundraisers and grants.

Jane Gates said she hopes once the land is officially purchased, the board can begin to apply for grants for a new building and is already seeking local donations.

Contributions to the project can be made to Moody Community Library Capital Projects Fund, Waco Foundation, 1227 Valley Mills Drive, suite 235, Waco, Texas, 76710.

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