Project Details

The Future of the Story Center

The Story Center, a Mid-Continent Public Library program that offers resources and support for storytellers of all mediums, needs your help to renovate its future home — the historic home at Woodneath.

A Significant Undertaking

The Woodneath property was purchased because of its ideal location to serve the fastest growing area of MCPL’s Library District. MCPL has funded the construction of the Woodneath Library Center and will fund the plan for the grounds (thanks to the passage of Proposition L). The historic renovation costs represent about 13% of the total Woodneath Project ($25.5 million). In effort to be the best stewards of tax payer dollars possible, the MCPL Board of Trustees agreed to reach out to the community for their help in renovating the historic home.

Time is of the Essence

We’re not alone in raising the money. A local foundation has agreed to match donations one to one up to $20,000 by October 1st.  Help us meet this challenge deadline by donating now.  The National Endowment for the Humanities has already matched $900,000 of privately raised funds with $300,000 in challenge grant funds! Act now to help the cause.


Existing Conditions Assessment Report Completed – January 2014

National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant Awarded – December 2015

Exterior Renovation of the historic home by Pishny Restoration Services Begins – January 2018

Public Campaign Launch – April 6 2018

Local Foundation Match Deadline – October 2018

Interior Renovation will begin when the remainder of the campaign goal is met. 

The New Story Center

The updated Story Center will house many community amenities and help the Woodneath Library Center to truly become a library of the future.

First Floor Plan

The first floor of the story center will house the Crouch Family Reading Room, Program and Exhibit Spaces, and the Story Center Studio. 

Crouch Family
Reading Room

The formal parlor of the home owned by the Crouch Family will serve as a period room and tell the story of the family and their history of civic engagement and role in local agriculture. This room will include family antiques, heirlooms, and historic artifacts that will enhance the unique reading room experience.


Program/ Exhibit Spaces

The former living room and dining room on the main floor of the historic home will be adapted for exhibits and for programming space for groups of 15-40. These spaces can be used together or separately for programs, books clubs, and/or smaller events. The rooms will be restored to illustrate the historic character of the home and will provide a welcoming space for smaller groups.

Story Center Studio

The westernmost room on the main floor provides the perfect opportunity to incorporate a studio similar to the two offered at the Midwest Genealogy Center. The studio will provide a well-designed, comfortable space where spoken interviews can be recorded and archived. Similar to the StoryCorps model, the studio will accommodate two people for a recorded interview session.

Second Floor Plan

The second floor of the Story Center will house a collaboration/conference room, Story Center Offices, and the headquarters of the National Storytelling Network.

Collaboration/Conference Room

A larger room on the north side of the second floor will provide a conference-style room for up to 15 people. The room will be available for public use and will also be used by National Storytelling Network and Story Center staff. The room will provide webcast capabilities while retaining the historic character of the space. 

National Storytelling Network Headquarters and Story Center Offices

The south wing of the second floor will be used for the offices of the National Storytelling Network and Story Center staff. The offices will be ADA accessible through an elevator in the Library Center.

Help make these dreams a realty

The Future of the
Woodneath Library Center


A step beyond the Community Hall, the auditorium will offer larger event/meeting space connected to the Library Center by an enclosed breezeway. The auditorium, a much needed facility in the Northland, may accommodate up to 300-500 people and will have independent restroom facilities

Trail System

Combining paved trails and footpaths, the system will provide access through native restoration areas and to historical/architectural features of the property. The paved trails will provide ADA accessibility while foot paths will provide access to less traveled areas of the site. Periodic, but selective, interpretive signage will educate patrons about local wildlife, native vegetation, and site history. 

Cultural Nook

A small plaza for seating and signage is planned for the northwest corner of the site to utilize the other structures on the site (barn, stables, etc.). The silo will act as a vertical focal point for the space. The plaza may be used for outdoor programs and events. 

Open-Air Amphitheater

Located southeast of the auditorium, the amphitheater will hold approximately 150 people for outdoor events and programs. The design, which will provide ADA accessibility, will tie into the trail system and take advantage of a shaded setting surrounded by prairie.

Council Rings

Three council rings are planned for Woodneath. The largest (for up to 15 people) will be situated along the east-facing façade of the future auditorium. Another ring will serve as an outdoor extension of the Teen space in the Library Center. A smaller ring for 8 – 12 people will be cut into the hillside just south of the Auditorium. Council rings will be incorporated to offer smaller outdoor learning/programming space and will be used for educational programs, storytelling events, or meetings. 

Prairie Restoration

A significant portion of the 33 acres offers wooded areas and prairie land which lends to the character and charm of the estate. MCPL intends to work with partners to implement a small-scale prairie restoration project in Woodneath’s now urban setting. 

Naomi Crouch Memorial Garden

Naomi Crouch was an avid gardener known for her peonies and orchids. The plan will identify an appropriate space to honor Mrs. Crouch with a garden and signage describing her impact on the Northland.

Art Features

Larger art features will be incorporated into the overall design for the grounds. MCPL envisions working with partners or commissioning a primary piece to provide for visual interest on the grounds.

Show Some Love

We need your support to help make the Story Center’s new home a reality. 
What are you waiting for? It’s tax deductible and helps the community! It’s a win-win!

Donate Today