The St. Charles Public Library’s temporary location in the former Haines Middle School is set to close on May 17 in preparation for the newly renovated library at 1 S. Sixth Ave. to open in early July.
During the closure, no fines will accumulate and no materials will be due. Patrons can check out items with their library card at any library in the SWAN network.
More information is available at the library’s website, scpld.org. As part of the renovation project, there will be a new entrance on the east façade of the library building to add access to all levels through a new elevator.
“The best thing about this building is the access,” St. Charles Library Director Edith Craig has said. “When you walk through the doors here, the first thing you encounter is an elevator that goes to all three floors. And the Carnegie Community Room upstairs is also accessible via ramps now. People will be able to come and go very easily into that room.”
When the new building opens, people will find plenty of parking. The library’s parking lot will feature 234 parking spaces, compared to the previous 140 spaces.
“And now with the vacating of the streets, you don’t have to go out into the street just to get into the other lot,” Craig said. “It’s one big lot. There’s sidewalks everywhere to get from point A to point B. It’s all very pedestrian friendly. That was a goal.”
Before embarking on the expansion project, library officials toured other libraries, including those which had been newly renovated, “to see what worked and didn’t,” Craig said.
The project also incorporates the historic original Carnegie Building space into the everyday life of the library through the addition of study rooms and a quiet reading and research area. In addition, there will be two new community meeting rooms, one on the main floor and one on the lower level in the youth services department.
As library officials found out through community engagement, lounge space was something that was important to residents.
“When we did our strategic plan and our survey and all of that community engagement, we found out that the reason that people came into our building was to read and drink,” Craig said. “And that’s one thing we didn’t have a lot of, lounge space. We’ve definitely increased the reading and the lounge spaces.”
Other elements include the construction of a terraced garden next to the new entrance along the east façade of the building to allow more natural light into the building’s lower level and for the incorporation of green program space. A drive-up window on the south side of the building to allow for quick patron service also is part of the project as well as the addition of an outdoor patio seating area.
Last year, aldermen approved a historic landmark designation for the library. The original Carnegie Library building at the corner of Main Street and Fifth Avenue was built in 1908. The building was last expanded in 1988 with a two-story addition.