Designing a Library for 21st Century Needs
When the newly-built Library opened in 1997, the world was a different place, with the boom of 21st century technology on the horizon. The Library met the challenge of changing patron needs by providing technology training, services and digital collections. We are proud to have enhanced the services that are the hallmark of the public library – providing free materials and programs and a community gathering space for all ages. While library resources and services have evolved to meet the demands of the 21st century, the library facility also needs updating to create more efficient, inviting library spaces and address needed repairs and replacement of mechanical and physical systems.
In January, 2014 the Library Board hired Engberg Anderson Architects to conduct a space planning study to determine the most cost-effective way to address needed renovations due to the past two decades of “wear and tear” on the original equipment and meet evolving patron needs and changes in technology. The resulting conceptual design, was unveiled at a public meeting on April 1st (meeting minutes).
A Special Board meeting was held on Thursday, June 26 to discuss financing options and costs for the proposed renovation plan. (meeting minutes).
On August 12th, The Library Board of Trustees unanimously voted to place a bond question on the ballot at the November 4, 2014 General Election. Taxpayers of the Lemont Public Library District will be asked to decide whether to fund a $2.8M Renovation Plan that will address needed upgrades (failing mechanical systems, roof and carpeting, outdated electrical and data systems), provide additional public space, and improve the efficiency and usability of the building. (Refer to the Tax Impact chart to see how this will impact the current library debt service portion of your tax bill.)
The bond for the original construction of the library building will be retired in 2015. A new bond to fund the Renovation will cost taxpayers approximately 30% less than our current debt service due to favorable interest rates and financing options.
The Library Board’s decision to pursue a referendum was driven by the need to address the operating condition of our building and physical systems along with the input received from the public. Public meetings were held on July 22nd and August 6th to elicit feedback from the community and discuss their current needs as well as providing flexibility for the future.
The Renovation Plan will protect your investment in the library and ensure that it will be usable for years to come. Construction and interest costs are very favorable at the present time; the cost of repairs and renovation will only continue to increase in the future. Significant cost savings will be achieved by reducing funds expended on escalating repair and maintenance costs. (An estimated 20% savings on electrical repairs and lighting replacement costs and a 16 to 20% reduction in utility costs will result from an energy efficient HVAC system and electrical upgrades.)
The public is encouraged to attend the Library Board Meeting on Thursday, October 9th (Notice 10-9-14) where information on the Renovation financing and plan costs will be discussed.