DeKalb library

Work Progressing On The DeKalb Library Expansion

Jul 9, 2015
Lauren Baker

The new edition of the DeKalb Public Library continues to be constructed.

Though the $25.3 million expansion is on track to be done mid-December; the total renovation of the library is projected to be done August 2016.

With accessibility being one of the biggest improvements to be added to the library, other innovations include self-checkout stations, recycled rubber flooring and a new elevator.

The new expansion also gives the library the chance to expand on space which includes larger meeting areas and more offices.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Saturday's groundbreaking for a $24 million dollar library expansion can't come soon enough for Dee Coover. The library director walked into her office this week to sweltering temperatures. She called to get the problem fixed and heard a familiar refrain from workers.

"It's been remodeled several times so everything is in the way of what I am trying to work on. It's just that everything is old...antiquated," said service technician Chad Phund.

He's been called to the to 80-year-old building several times to "put band-aids on band-aids."

Work on the expansion project is expected to begin as early as May 19. Architects provided an update to library officials this week. Library Director Dee Coover estimates the construction will last 18 months. The library is expected to remain open during the work, but she says patrons will begin noticing covered walkways around the entrance to the children's department.

She says workers will start moving materials in May, with "true" construction in mid-July.

"We are going to embrace this. We are going to have trucks maybe as our summer reading theme," Coover said.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

DeKalb library officials welcomed a visit from Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White Monday morning.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

DeKalb library officials are in the midst of designing a $24 million dollar expansion project. 

In the library of the future, there are plenty of electrical outlets for students to use laptops. Library staff ditch vacuum cleaners in favor of floors made from used tires. Busy moms are able to pick-up books without unstrapping the kids from the car.

These are all features being considered for the DeKalb Library expansion. The finish line is still a few years down the road, but planners are now designing the layout and trying to please as many patrons as possible.

DeKalb Public Library

UPDATE: The state of Illinois increased the grant from $8.5 million to $11.6 million

The new campaign is called From Barbed Wire to Fully Wired. Library Director Dee Coover envisions a facility of the future with open rooms, up-to-date technology, and plenty of meeting spaces. Taxpayers will help pay for the expansion.