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09 Apr



















































Library Construction Update

09 Jan

The latest Pew report has this data:
•95% of Americans ages 16 and older agree that the materials and resources available at public libraries play an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed;
•95% say that public libraries are important because they promote literacy and a love of reading;
•94% say that having a public library improves the quality of life in a community;
•81% say that public libraries provide many services people would have a hard time finding elsewhere.

Amazingly high numbers. I will continue to be updating my blog with new reports about the construction. Dee


Secretary of State Jesse White

04 Jan

On January 13, 2014 at 10:00 am , Secretary of State Jesse White will be here at the library to present us with an $11.6 million dollar check for the construction of an addition to our historic library. We anticipate a great event. Dee


Expansion Update

13 Dec

Our team has decided on the exterior finish. It will be the same as the DeKalb County Courthouse– a pre-cast product with a steel framework. This will save a great deal of money but not compromise the quality of the construction or look. Dee


Construction Update #4

06 Dec

Secretary of State Jesse White will be at the library on January 13 at 10:00 am to present the check for construction!!! We will have more details as time draws closer.


Construciton Update #3

27 Nov

The first part of our project was the parking lot on Oak near 2nd Street. Irving Construction was the low bid on the project and it is now essentially finished. The landscaping will be finished in the spring.
The next phases are being blocked out and priced this month.



22 Nov

How big is the expansion? We are adding approximately 47,000 sq ft onto our existing 19,000 sq ft.
How many floors? The addition will contain 3 floors, but the new roof line will be the same height as the existing roof.
Where will it be located? We are expanding to the west of our current location, crossing 3rd street into our existing parking lot and picnic grove area.
Is 3rd Street being closed? The section of 3rd street between Oak and Pine will be altered. The southern half of the street will be vacated to make way for the expansion. The northern half of the street will be made two-way, ending in a cul-de-sac to allow traffic access to both the library and the Lutheran Church.
When will construction begin? The tentative start date is Spring 2013. This will be the closing/demolition of 3rd street so that utilities can be re-routed.
Will the old building be renovated? Renovation of the current building is currently being estimated. We would like to restore the cork floors and the skylight in the fiction room.
When will the renovation begin? The renovation of the old building will begin after the new space is completed.
Will the library be closed during construction? The library will remain open during construction, however, there will be two periods during which we close . The first closing will be after the expansion is completed so that we can move into the new space during renovation of the old. The second closing will be after the renovation so that we can move back into the existing building. The exact dates and lengths of these closings are dependent on when construction gets completed. Stay tuned.
Will there be additional parking? There will be parking on the west and north sides of the expansion as well as parking lots immediately to the south across 3rd street. There are also several public parking lots nearby.
Will the new building meet ADA accessibility requirements? The expansion will be fully accessible to everyone.
Will the existing building be brought up to ADA accessibility requirements? The renovation of the existing building will make all public areas fully accessible.
Won’t e-books be the norm in 10, 20, 30 years, needing less space? We anticipate both digital books and physical books to co-exist for a long period of time. We certainly embrace technology and the new library addition will be constructed to enable us to move with the times.
Why is the expansion so expensive? Libraries must be built to a certain load requirement, meaning they must be able to support a minimum amount of weight per square foot. The weight to be supported in a library is much higher than in a regular office or other commercial building due to the presence of many rows of books. The structure to support that additional weight raises the cost of a library compared to similarly sized buildings with different uses. Also, some of the cost will be to update the aging HVAC system of the existing building.


Weekly Director’s Update

15 Nov

Director’s Update:
Every Friday I will be sending out a note about what I know about the expansion:
1. Our professional team is in place.


2. The project is being priced now and that pricing will reflect a more detailed pricing than the earlier pricing that was done for the Illinois State grant. At that time, the drawings were in a very early stage of development. We now have more detailed drawings (although there is much to be done yet).
3. Part of the pricing will be a beginning calendar.
4. At this point in time, I believe the first phase will be the 3rd Street closing, moving the utilities and creating a safe way to enter the youth department. All of this is sketchy until we see the detailed pricing and meet with the construction people and the architects.
5. We will be having a monthly staff update.



City Council June 10

13 Jun

These are my comments that were given on June 10.
City Council June 10, 2013
Good evening Mayor and Council,
On May 9, just one month ago now, the DeKalb Public Library received an unexpected notice that we were awarded the entire amount for which we were eligible– .64 % of construction costs.
This amount is
Previously we had been awarded $8,544,127.49.
Let me put that amount of money into context. In this one time only capital project for library construction, there was only $50 million. DeKalb Public Library received $11,659,453.05 cents. Why so much to us? This complicated and competitive grant gave every library in the state a number on a grant index. We were rated quite high—we had had no recent construction, a high poverty rate, not meeting fire codes, etc.
However, I would like to quickly relate a few highlights of the one meeting we had with the executive management of the Illinois State Library, The executive director, four other high-level directors were there as well as Nathan Maddux, Senior Legal Counsel to the State of Illinois. This is an enormous amount of money. Everyone in the room was very familiar with the grant application, the status of our library building on the National Register of Historic Buildings and the scope and design of the proposed expansion. Everyone was completely satisfied with the grant application, the approval of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and wished us well in our local fundraising.
I think in our own hometown we do not recognize the importance of our building at the national level. Our building is an Art Deco building and as our building consultant often states, as far as he knows, there are only three—Los Angeles Public Library, the Library of Congress and us. We are an even smaller window of Art Deco, Art Moderne and perhaps we are the only library that is Art Moderne.
Certainly, the building has been lovingly and carefully maintained. We have hired architects who respect that architectural statement and are reflecting that respect in their complementary addition.
This difference of $3,085,326 will enable us to build and renovate in one phase instead of dividing the project into two phases as we discussed with you previously. The return to the original project as submitted in April of 2011 will save us escalation costs according to our construction experts of perhaps a million dollars.
The three local banks met and previously having each examined our books and structured the loan to be repaid through our current operating funds if private philanthropy does not meet our goals, all stepped forward to cover the additional amount needed. No further costs will go to the taxpayers.
With a very preliminary call for donors, we immediately raised over one million dollars in pledges and cash. Certainly, our fund raising efforts will go into high gear as soon as the contract with the State is signed.
The project has not changed at all. We simply have over $3 million more dollars to fund it.
We are grateful to the vision of Jacob Haish, Sven Parson and the Board of Trustees of 1930, to the Mayor and Council of 2012/2013, to the current Board of Trustees who have been working on bringing 21st century library services to our city since 2007, to the Secretary of State, Jesse White, who has worked tirelessly to fund public libraries, to Representative Pritchard who has always advocated for public libraries, and to the Illinois State Library and its representatives who have made this dream possible with full funding of our project.

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