LA GRANGE – Construction is set to begin on a renovation project on the first floor of the La Grange Public Library in late November or early December.
The project includes general maintenance, technological upgrades and the addition of more space to the 10-year-old building. More than 6,900 square feet will undergo renovations.
The carpeting and lobby doors will be replaced, and mobile phone charging stations will be added while the lobby’s pay phone will be removed. More seating will be added on the main floor to allow for a more social setting. The library’s coffee machine will be moved to the lobby, and new books, music and movies will be added to the collection.
About 700 square feet of outdoor space on the first floor will be renovated for indoor use, allowing for an expansion in the children’s area and lobby. More play-based learning materials will be added for children ages zero to five, allowing for more imaginative play that encourages both fine and gross motor development, said Jeannie Dilger, executive director of the library.
Dilger said many of the improvements are a result of community feedback that came from the library’s strategic planning process that began last year.
“We listened to what the community wanted, which was more convenience, new materials and more space for our youngest patrons,” she said. “We are trying to reflect that input with these changes, which I think will make for a more flexible environment by updating the library for both current and future needs.”
The total cost for the project is estimated to be $980,000, and the funds have already been set aside by the library’s board, so there will not be a tax increase, Dilger said.
“The board has been good stewards of the community’s investment and has been saving money each year for renovations,” she said.
In a statement, board President Laurie Braun said she is very excited about the improvements to the youth services.
“By providing more tools and space for studying in our youth services department, we can become an even more effective community partner in addressing the achievement gap among students by enhancing opportunities for all segments of our community,” she said.
Dilger said the library has seen increased use over the past several years, and more residents are using the building as a meeting place.
“We’ve become a community gathering space,” she said. “More people are using our digital media labs to create videos and podcasts. People aren’t just using this as a warehouse for books, but as a place for content creation and community collaboration.”
Construction will last between four and six months, and the library’s intent is to remain open, but Dilger said there may be occasional closings that will be determined after the project is underway. The library will hold additional meetings to gather community feedback and input later this month.
Information about the renovation project can be found on the library’s website at lagrangelibrary.org.