Harvard Diggins Library closed for February, plans to expand collection with games once reopened

Online e-books will be available, and other libraries will honor Harvard cards

The Harvard Diggins Library is located at 900 E. McKinley St. in Harvard.

For the month of February, the Harvard Diggins Library will be closed to the public while the building gets a much-needed refresh, the library director said.

While the library is closed, patrons can continue to check out books through its online e-book offerings and may use their library cards at any other Illinois library to check out materials, library director Karen Sutera said.

It does not mean the staff gets a month-long vacation.

Among other projects, she and her five staff members will complete smaller projects in the library’s administration area and expand its board game collection during the Feb. 2 to 28 closure.

The library will get new wood laminate flooring in its public areas while the public bathrooms are updated, a drinking fountain is installed and the meeting and study rooms receive a fresh coat of paint.

“And, less glamorous, we are getting a water softener,” Sutera said.

Harvard has had a municipal library since 1909. In 2001, after a successful construction bond referendum, the new 19,000-square-foot library opened at 900 E. McKinley St.

Now, at nearly 22 years old, “the flooring is showing signs of wear and age and the bathrooms have needed a face lift for awhile,” Sutera said.

The project has a $230,000 budget, including $10,000 for a possible wall move to allow for the fountain, Sutera said.

That funding became available thanks to city residents who approved a 2018 referendum. That measure allowed the library to transfer property taxes that had been going to the construction bonds to fund its operation expenses, she said.

Timing the closure was based on the contractor’s suggestion.

“It is working well since it’s February. It is is one of the lower door count months” for patrons coming to the library, she said.

It is the lack of bathrooms during the project and the flooring replacement that necessitated closing the library while the work is completed, Sutera said. Not even her staff can be in the main area of the library while the work is being done.

They will use the time to set details of the library’s summer reading program, clean and reorganize the office and start its new board game collection, set for debut in March.

Once completed, the game board collection will have “board games for everybody and anybody,” Sutera said.

Staff is planning to include a broad variety of board games, including “some of the unique and expensive board games” that may cost $60 each to have available for two-week checkout period, Sutera said.

Construction updates will be posted on the Harvard Diggins Library Facebook page and the library’s website, harvard-diggins.org.