Once the Riverside Public Library capital campaign raises around 50,000. Officials will begin planning for the creation of an early learners' space on the lower level, shown above in a conceptual rendering. | Courtesy of Riverside Public Library

The Riverside Public Library’s year-old capital campaign to fund renovations to the building’s lower level got a boost last week with two donations totaling $35,000. 

With the latest donations in hand, the library has raised $151,000 towards the estimated $1.3 million renovation project, which seeks to create a new teen room, a new storytime/multipurpose room, an early learners’ area, reconfigured staff offices along with children’s services and juvenile/middle school areas and an expanded public meeting room.

The latest gifts include a $25,000 donation from a Selborne Road couple, making them the library’s first “silver” level benefactors. Another Riverside resident donated $10,000, making them a “bronze” level sponsor.

In all, the library has received donations from 133 people and organizations totaling more than $80,000 since the capital campaign started, said library board President Joan Wiaduck in a press release.

The biggest single donation to date was $57,000 in honor of former Riverside School District 96 Superintendent David Bonnette, given to the library by the now-disbanded Riverside Elementary Education Foundation (REEF).

“The response has been wonderful, but there is still a long way to go, so we are cooking up more ways for you to show your support,” Wiaduck said.

The next of those opportunities will be a Harvest Bingo event at the Riverside Public Library, 1 Burling Road, on Saturday, Oct. 20. Tickets to the 21-over, BYOB event are $30 and can be bought at the library or www.riversidelibrary.ticketleap.com/harvest-bingo.

The library is also planning on hosting its 2nd Annual Reading Between the Wines wine-tasting fundraiser in February. The inaugural event last year raised $14,000 and was accompanied by a $12,000 matching donation by a Riverside resident.

According to library Director Janice Foley, officials need to raise between $230,000 and $250,000 before they can embark on any of the planned renovation projects.

The first to be tackled, Foley said, would likely be the early learners’ space, located in the southwest corner of the lower level, with excellent views of the river.

“That involved the most work, and also would open up the rest of the area downstairs,” Foley said. “We would love to be able to start construction by next summer.”