Rockford's New Library Director Has Full Plate

Nov 12, 2014

The new executive director of the Rockford Public Library is just a week into the job, but she's already got a major project ahead of her.

Credit Rockford Public Library

Lynn Stainbrook previously led the Brown County Library in Green Bay, Wisconsin. There will be plenty of decisions to make in Rockford.  The main library sits on the site of a former gas plant. Coal tar was stored underground. Over time, it seeped into the soil. ComEd is in charge of contamination removal.

But you can't just move a library without some planning.

Stainbrook says library officials are working out a budget to present to ComEd.

One option is to move the books to a temporary location. Another idea would be to move the main library entirely to a permanent location elsewhere. Either way, Stainbrook says it will be a challenge to create the right kind of space for community.

"Certainly things that most libraries do sort of slowly as a set of progression [like] re-modeling here, and touching up here, and taking out a wall there. To do it all in one piece is a unique opportunity."

Paul Callighan, spokesman for ComEd, says the company has completed a site review, but a specific plan of work still needs to be finalized.

Stainbrook says library officials hope to have a plan for the clean-up in place by next spring.