Read Up On DeKalb Library Expansion Plan

Jul 5, 2013

Things are moving along for a major expansion project for the DeKalb Library. Henry Haupt, a spokesman for the Illinois Secretary of State's office, says the authorization process is in the final stages.

Nearly half of the cost for the $24 million project comes from a grant from the state of Illinois. The rest comes from borrowing and private donations. Haupt says the library was overdue for an upgrade:

"That library simply cannot sustain or serve the population. The building is an old building," Haupt said.

He says the public library construction grant is funded by the General Assembly. The money is part of a greater capital bill for roads and bridge construction. $50 million was set aside for the state's public libraries. The DeKalb project is the largest among that distribution.

Earlier this week, Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka warned of Illinois' growing backlog of bills. Haupt says that shouldn't be a concern for the library upgrades:

"These grants have been working terrifically, we haven't had any problems. We would expect it to continue to work smoothly." - Henry Haupt, spokesman, Illinois Secretary of State's Office

The project includes a 46,000-square-foot expansion. The new wing will replicate the Art Deco design of the original building.

Library History

In 1893, the City Council established a public library in a room on the second floor of City Hall, which was then located at 125 South Second Street.

In 1923, the library moved to the second floor of the Daily Chronicle building at 114 East Lincoln Highway.

In 1931, the Haish Memorial Library Building at 309 Oak Street was dedicated. It was built on land provided by the city and financed by a bequest of $150,000 from barbed-wire millionaire Jacob Haish.

-information from the DeKalb Public Library