As the construction crews move through the building installing new ductwork for the updated HVAC system, we knew that some areas would be more disruptive than others. And unfortunately, this week is a pretty disruptive one.

Beginning on Monday, Nov. 9, crews temporarily closed the computer room and teen room to work in the ceilings in those areas. Luckily, the work is focused solely on the ductwork, and will be done quickly-- just two weeks! The library staff have been hard at work to ensure that patrons can still access resources in those rooms, as well. Several public access computers have been moved to the recent arrivals area, and 6 laptops are available for checkout within the building. Normally laptop use is restriced to Wilmette and Kenilworth residents, but during the computer room closure any Library visitor may use a laptop. The teen collection has been moved to the fiction room, where it is temporarily housed on top of the low bookshelves in the southeast corner of the room.

Although we know that the construction is often disruptive, we have been blown away by the support of the community. It may be frustrating from time to time to temporarily lose access to a favorite resource, collection, or space, but everyone has been so understanding and excited for the final result of a the project-- the response has been great! 

If you've visited the Library recently, you may have noticed a new area of construction: the roof! Over the years, a few small leaks have sprung up on the roof, and it seemed like our big renovation was the ideal time to get those little leaks fixed before they became big ones. Because the project is very weather dependent, it's hard to say exactly how long the crews will be up there, but they are anticipating a few weeks of work to get the project finished. From time to time, their equipment may block the path to the front door and a few parking spots, so please be cautious while they are working! 

As part of the general renovation of the Library, some updates to the Auditorium have been on the books for the entire renovation planning process. The lower level restrooms, which are located in the Auditorium, have been slated to be redone from day 1. When they are complete, they will brighter and more ADA compliant. Additionally, the HVAC ductwork in the Auditorium is being replaced, as is being done throughout the building. These two major updates are enough to keep the room closed for several months, and the Library is accomodating the work by putting much of our adult programming and events on hiatus for the fall. 

But while the room was closed, Library staff and crews decided to add one more big update to the Auditorium: new lighting! For a long time, staff and presenters have known that our old lighting was not quite up to snuff. It was difficult to operate, had many dark spots, and not organized well to highlight speakers and performers. So while the room was being torn up anyway, staff and crews decided to update the whole lighting system.

When this project is done, the new lights will accomplish several goals:

  1. Art will be more attractively and efficiently lighted
  2. There will be easier setups to properly light a variety of types of speakers, performers, and presenters, including those situations where light is needed on a speaker but dark is required for a slideshow presentation. 
  3. The full room lighting will be more even and attractive. The old lights were harsh flourescents that did not match the color or tone of the rest of the lighting in the room, and were recessed in a way that created many dark, uneven spots throughout the room. The new setup will be more even and attractive, making the Auditorium a more pleasant place to attend meetings, study, and generally use the room.

Although the addition of the new lights will extend the work in the Auditorium for about an extra month, into early January, we know that this is a worthwhile addition to the room that staff and the public will appreciate for years to come.

We knew going into phase 3 that it would be more involved and potentially more disruptive than our previous two phases, but even library staff have been amazed at how much our construction crews have been in and out of various areas of the First Floor and Lower Level this fall! The crews have been working to minimize the disruption by working in one small area at a time. 

All of the work in the cordoned off areas is to update the HVAC ductwork so that the new boilers can be hooked up before the cold winter weather starts. Work has already taken place near the recent arrivals desk, in the 900s room (history, biography, and travel collections), in the Books Down Under bookstore, and in the Adult Services staff office, and in the coming weeks crews will move into the Computer Lab and Teen Room. 

Staff are doing their best to ensure that the public can still access materials during these disruptions, whether that means moving a portion of the 900s collection to the second floor, or providing computer access via laptops and in other areas while the Computer Lab is closed. 

If you need help finding materials during these busy times, please don't hesitate to speak with a staff member! 

We are so excited to have a new, fully functioning Youth Services department! While there are still a few surprise finishing touches we'll be rolling out over the next few months, our YS staff is enjoying settling into their new spaces and scheduling a full slate of programs in the new Youth Program Room. Check out a few pictures of the new space! 

We love our new family bathroom, with both parent and kid sized facilities! And the bright colors are a welcome addition.

The junior high room has great little nooks and comfy seating for students to read, study, and hang out.

The picture book area is fully stocked, with tons of books and great kid-sized furnishings. 

This fall, the library will be moving into Phase 3 of our yearlong renovation. The first two phases, which were primarily focused on renovating Youth Services, were very self-contained, but Phase 3 will encompass much more of the building! The major portions include the Current Periodicals Room and the area immediately outside of it, the Auditorium, the Small Meeting Room, the Lower Level restrooms, and portions of the First Floor and Lower Level.

When this phase is complete, you can expect:

  • A renovated Current Periodicals room featuring more comfortable furnishings that take advantage of the big windows.
  • Six new study rooms, including four on the 2nd floor and two on the Lower Level, providing a greater opportunity for independent and group study and small meetings.
  • Brighter, more colorful Low Level restrooms that will be more ADA compliant and easier for all patrons to use and access.
  • Eco-friendly lighting and fixtures will be installed in the restrooms and other renovated portions of the Library.
  • A fully integrated geothermal heating and cooling system. This project was started over the summer when geowells were dug in the front yard, and will be completed this fall as the wells are hooked up to the building and the full system is completed to heat and cool a portion of the Lower Level.

During this phase, there will be times when portions of the collection or certain areas of the Library are unavailable. Staff will endeavor to provide as much advance notice of these closures as possible, and plan to make alternative arrangements for access whenever possible.
Areas from the first two phases of the renovation, including Youth Services and Administration, are fully reopened. Feel free to stop by and see the new design!

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