Planning for the 2005 library expansion began in 1997. To move the project forward, the Foundation Board made the commitment to organize a capital campaign to raise $2 million in private donations. Enthusiastic community support resulted in private donations of $2.5 million by the end of the capital campaign.

Community Fund Drive

During the course of the capital campaign, over 100 community members volunteered to help the Foundation with the fundraising effort. By April 2001, donations to the campaign passed the $1 million mark. By October 2001, donations had reached $1.8 million and Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert returned to his hometown to host a fundraising benefit for what he fondly named “The Urbana Free and Wonderful Library.”

Wonderful Community Support

By October 2002, the Foundation’s fundraising goal exceeded $2 million with $2.5 million in private donations raised by the end of the capital campaign. The $8.5 million library expansion was achieved without raising taxes and without incurring any debt. The Foundation is grateful to the many community leaders who were devoted to this endeavor and who are largely responsible for its success. Over 1,200 community members, businesses, and organizations made gifts in support of the library’s expansion.

Reaching the Goal

The groundbreaking on October 20, 2002, celebrated the community’s commitment to a shared vision for the library. The completely renovated and expanded library was dedicated with great joy on May 1, 2005. The Foundation remains committed to the promise that The Urbana Free Library will continue to inspire, educate, and nurture every generation of the community.