GPL Blog

From the Director’s Desk — July 2021

Each month, Library Director Noelle Thompson will give an update on what’s happening at the library. Check here for updates on the new building, exciting news, and more!

The 200 block of West Main Street is being prepared for the construction of a new Galesburg Public Library, set to begin this fall. The buildings previously on the block have been demolished and the site excavated. Neidig Trucking and Excavating, the demolition contractors, have uncovered a plethora of items revealing the history of the block and its many uses over the past 180+ years.

Among the recovered items was a swimming pool belonging to a previous motel; tens of thousands of bricks; oil tanks; stone, brick, and concrete foundations; pipes; cisterns; horseshoes; and glass and ceramic bottles, jugs, and jars. The smaller items have been retrieved by the library and will eventually be put on display or turned into artwork.

Justin McNaught harvesting the bur oak tree at the site of the future Galesburg Public Library.

In addition to demolishing the buildings, Neidig Trucking and Excavating removed all trees from the area. Under the advisement of the City arborist, it was determined that the trees were not in good enough condition to save and removal was recommended. One of the trees, a 40” bur oak, will return to the library, albeit in a different form. 

Justin McNaught, co-owner of Urban Milling Co. along with his wife, Elvith Santoyo-McNaught, harvested the bur oak and will use the wood to build

Photo provided by Dylana Carlson.

tables for the new library. Urban Milling Co. is located at 248 E. Simmons St., and McNaught notes the bur oak tree “will never be farther than 5 blocks from where it grew.” Once the new building is constructed, the bur oak will return to its home in the form of tables to be enjoyed by visitors to the library. 

Working with the City arborist and a team of landscaping advisors, the library will add native trees, plants, and other landscaping elements to the block. A new bur oak will be added to the corner of Main and West Streets and additional trees will be planted along the perimeter of the block and in what will become the library’s green space, an outdoor area meant to be enjoyed by library visitors and guests to downtown Galesburg. 

To learn more about the new library project, visit