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This photo of an architect's rendering shows what a future Normal Public Library could look like from outside.

NORMAL — Normal Public Library could seek $6 million in private funding by 2020 as officials pursue a new building in the future Uptown South district.

That's according to a fundraising plan approved by the library's board Wednesday. The library will pay about $66,000 for consultant Library Strategies to help fundraising for the new library over the next few years.

OPN Architects of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is near the end of a $297,000 contract to develop preliminary designs for Normal library officials to use in fundraising.

A cost estimate for the facility is still pending; previous estimates topped $20 million and were for smaller facilities than the most recent design.

Under the Library Strategies deal, officials could expand the Normal Public Library Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to supplementing the library's programming and fundraising, through 2017; study how to conduct a fundraising campaign, also this year; and do that campaign in 2018 and 2019.

The campaign could include a yearlong "quiet phase," in which officials privately request donations that could total 85 percent to 95 percent of the $6 million goal, followed by a yearlong public phase, according to the plan.

Library Director Brian Chase told the board each phase could take multiple years, and they could be equal in terms of fundraising.

He said after the meeting those differences are because the plan is still in an early stage.

"I think we're trying to be safe in our expectations so we don't set a timeline that we can't meet," he said.

Library Strategies is a division of Friends of the Saint Paul (Minn.) Public Library that helps other libraries with projects, including fundraising campaigns.

"There's a whole lot of work coming," said Board President Jess Ray of the plan.

The library also is considering adding three full-time positions, in part to address preparations for the new library, starting in April.

Chase told board members he's considering adding a communications director, development director and graphic designer in next year's budget, to be approved in August.

"That's a short-term investment for long-term dividends, and the long-term return could be considerable," said Ray of the development director job. "It could be a self-funding prospect, but you've got to jump-start it at some point."

Chase said it's too early to estimate salaries for those roles.

In other business, the board:

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Follow Derek Beigh on Twitter: @pg_beigh


Normal and McLean County Reporter

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