St. Charles Public Library: Our renovation and expansion project is complete

The St. Charles Public Library, one of the community’s most treasured landmarks, has completed an $18.6 million renovation and expansion project that has modernized and enhanced much of the space.

Sheehan Nagle Hartray Architects balanced historic preservation with striking and extraordinary contemporary design on the project.

“We wanted to ensure the library felt a true part of the community, so we pulled our interior design inspiration from the surrounding Fox River Valley area. The color palette and indoor/outdoor design elements give the library a natural feel that reflects the beauty of the St. Charles region,” said Eric Penney, principal of Sheehan Nagle Hartray Architects. “Our main focus when designing the library was to create an inspiring space for the patrons to meet, collaborate and learn.”

Creating a new entrance on the east façade, the library sought to make the building more inviting and accessible with an expanded parking lot and safer pedestrian paths to the library. A new elevator was added, allowing visitors access to every level of the building. Picking up holds or returning items, our new drive-up window will make using library services even more convenient year-round in any weather.

A rearrangement of the main library floor transformed the space into a relaxing, grand reading room, complete with a fireplace showcasing a signature art piece by local artist Larry K. Johnson, comfortable seating and tables. The historic Carnegie Building space has been incorporated into the everyday life of the library, and there is the addition of a study room and a quiet reading and research area. Two additional community meeting rooms were constructed for library events and programs, as well as for meetings and other gatherings for community groups and local businesses.

The library still provides ample space for individual study, but for those who wish for a hands-on, active learning environment, our makerspace, STC Creative, is just the place for you.

As high school students enter our second floor, they will be impressed with the brand-new enclosed teen center. The Loft features ample study space, video games, board games, comics, books and more. It’s the perfect place to go after a long day of school.

Brightly colored walls, study cubbies, a play area for babies and low counters welcome children and families to explore and discover in the newly designed Youth Services. Construction of a terrace garden allows more natural light into the area and provides outdoor program space.

We invite you to discover your new library this month. Look for more details on about the grand reopening celebration and activities throughout the month.

Edith G. Craig is director of the St. Charles Public Library District. The “Discover Your Library” column runs the second Thursday of each month. Feedback can be sent to