Couple gives $750K to build library near Traverse City

Jordan Travis
Traverse City Record-Eagle

Traverse City — Bill and Nancy Davy walked through the tall grass at the corner of Center and Island View roads to the future site of the Peninsula Community Library.

The two sought out where the front porch will be on the cottage-style building after Nancy, president of volunteer group Friends of Peninsula Community Library, explained how the new site will have a children’s garden, a building with a community room and porch in back as well.

Plus, there’s enough room to grow if Peninsula Township residents decide in the future that they need an even bigger building.

Fundraising for the new, 5,694-square-foot building is seven months ahead of schedule, thanks to Bill’s $750,000 donation in his and Nancy’s name, Peninsula Community Library Director Victoria Shurly said. The fundraising campaign’s goal is to raise $2 million by the end of 2017.

Bill’s donation put the total at more than $1.1 million from 217 contributions that otherwise range from $15 to $50,000, Shurly said. The campaign hired a fundraising consultant, but Bill wasn’t on anyone’s radar.

She’s thrilled, and hopes the move will spur others to give.

“I think that community members will see there’s huge support for the project, that this kind of a donation shows confidence in the library and that there’s a desire for there always to be a public library on Old Mission Peninsula,” she said.

Meeting the goal ahead of schedule could mean the new library could be up and running shortly after its current building changes hands, Shurly said. It’ll be built on land the library board purchased in 1990.

The library currently shares space in Traverse City Area Public Schools’ Old Mission Peninsula School, which sold the building in April to Old Mission Peninsula Education Foundation for $1.1 million. The foundation takes possession in July 2018.

A separate building works better for a public library, Shurly said. Library patrons currently must walk through the school’s main entrance, and school security necessities have ramped up to the point where school personnel must vet all visitors.

Nancy is among around 40 volunteers who form the core of the library’s 150-member friends group, she said. They volunteer in many ways at the library or to raise funds at community events. She shelves books there weekly, on top of many other tasks.

Bill’s sister left her estate to her hometown library when she died seven years ago, Nancy said. That gift’s impact made an impression on Bill, Nancy said. Other family members did the same.

A gift as large as Dave and Nancy’s gives the couple naming rights to the new library, Shurly said.

The two gave differing answers on what to name the new library. Dave suggested the Nancy W. Davy Library, and Nancy countered with the Bill and Nancy Davy Library.