FROM THE DIRECTOR
Comments, Clarifications and Frequently Asked Questions
- Reader Seating – We should have 60 seats plus 3 seats for every 1,000 population over 10,000, equaling no less than 63 seats available for patron use. Currently, we only have room for 33 and they are less than ideally separated from one another. Not included in the total are the 12 computer workstations which are not considered reader seating.
- Book Collection Levels – This number is also based on population. We should have slightly over 71,000 books in our library available to our patrons. Currently, we have approximately 57,400 books on shelf plus about 600 in storage that are not accessible for a total of 58,000. Because we do not have the available shelf space, many books that we might have on shelf have been discarded to make room for new books. By state library standards, we are short space for 13,000 books and we do not have room for more which means that we will either continue putting some in storage and continue discarding some to make room for new books.
- Shelf space – With a circulation of 163,000 items per year, that are checked out for a two week period, in any given two week period, we have approximately 4% of our collection (about 6,300 items) checked out and in homes throughout the district. We also purchase at the rate of about 400 new items per month, increasing our collection by 3% per year. All of these items need assigned shelf space. When you see approximately 12 inches of empty space at the end of a shelf, that space is there so that when items are returned, they can be put back on shelf in their appropriate order. If we did not have that space available, we would not be able to maintain an organized collection. The keyword being “organized.”
Following are additional comments/questions that I have been made aware of:
- Why do new books face out? Browsing through the library stacks, reading book titles on spines is a tedious process for most people unless they are looking for a specific title. We arrange our new books face-out, as you see in book stores, because many of our patrons come in to pick up the newest releases and it is easier for them to select a book if the cover faces out. This is a good marketing technique and like bookstores, all libraries display their popular materials to make them easier to find and more readily available for their best and most frequent customers.
- Why isn’t the library quiet? Libraries continually evolve to provide the types of services that our communities desire…we are not your grandma’s library! Rather than hushing patrons when they enter the building, good library buildings are constructed to provide quiet areas for those patrons who need to read or study in quiet. Unfortunately, we cannot provide study rooms or quiet reading areas in this building due to the lack of space. This building was constructed with the walls ending at the ceiling. In addition, the walls and ceilings are not acoustical therefore all sounds travel up and throughout the building. If there is a program going on in the meeting room at the front of the building, even with the door is closed; the sounds travel to the back of the building.
- What are the building concerns of the present facility:
- The current facility is a steel pole building making heating and cooling a challenge. In addition, even our new air conditioning units do not handle humidity very effectively. Currently we have 32 computers in the building. When this building was built in 1985, there were no computers. Due to the addition of computers, the heat and humidity in the building has increased exponentially making it difficult to cool the building in the summer. Although we experienced a hotter than normal summer, the temperature in the building had been hovering around the 79 degree point. If the temperature inside the building reaches 85 degrees, it is necessary to turn off the computers to prevent possible damage. This means that the library will also have to be closed for the remainder of the day.
- If we stay in this building we will have to repave the parking lot, paint the exterior of the building and replace the carpeting. We also expect that there could be major roof repairs in the near future.
- Parking – The number of parking spaces is insufficient. When we have programs, people are parking on the street, in front of residences, inconveniencing our neighbors.
- Restroom Facilities – Frequently, there is a waiting line to use the woman’s restroom.
- Meeting Room – We hold many meetings off-site or limit the number of participants because our meeting room only holds about 12 people. Even with a limit of 12, the room is crowded and uncomfortable.
- Why does it cost what it does to “build” a library?
- Libraries are very specialized institutional buildings requiring a higher standard of materials than basic building construction and/or improvements.
- The purchase price of the HomeStar Bank building is $2,250,000
- The cost to remodel and improve the space is an additional $1,000.000
- The cost to purchase furniture, shelving, equipment and library materials is approximately $250,000
- What does the purchase price of the HomeStar building include:
- Approximately 11,570 square feet of the retail (rental) space of the building
- Approximately 1,440 square feet of bank portion of the building for a total of 13,010 square feet.
6. What does the remodel and improvement of the HomeStar building include?
- Following are the main items that need attention: The existing interior walls will have to be removed, the plumbing will have to be relocated and added to, office space will need to be constructed, electric will need to be updated in order to accommodate office equipment and outlets for patrons to plug in their laptops, acoustical tile and surfaces, carpeting and ceramic tile floors in high-traffic areas for durability, up-lighting fixtures (to prevent glare), window treatments to shield the interior from glare during daytime hours, changes to the heating/ventilation/air conditioning system, a fire-proof book drop room will have to be constructed inside the building, fixed furnishings will need to be purchased and installed (i.e. circulation desk, meeting room kitchenette, counter space in the offices, staff lunchroom etc.), sinks and cabinets in the staff work spaces, interior and exterior signage, fixed display units and bulletin boards, in addition, one of the existing units has not been completed and requires electrical wiring, plumbing and pouring a concrete floor.
- All architectural, construction management and building consultant fees are included in this total.
7. What types of furniture and equipment will be needed?
- Patron seating, tables and lamps for preschool through adults, meeting room furniture (tables and stackable chairs), additional shelving for books (although we will take the shelving that we now have to use in the new building), public computers, printers and photocopiers (ours are becoming pretty outdated and some will have to be replaced), expanded and updated computer servers, portable display units, easels, some office furnishings (although we will take the office furniture that we currently own), telephone system (our current system cannot be expanded to add more lines)
8. Grant Money
- A State of Illinois Library construction grant was applied for in April 2012 but due to the large number of applicants, only those libraries who had their portion of the funding available received awards. Because the March 2012 referendum failed, we did not have our portion of the funding, making us ineligible for state grant money. According to the State Library, there is no indication that grant money from the state will be available for future projects.
9. Why purchase an existing building?
- The cost to purchase and renovate an existing building will result in less of a total cost than building from the ground up therefore, resulting in a lower tax impact.
- Have we considered other buildings in the district?
- In 2010, we had a referendum to purchase 27,000 square feet of the Benck’s Plaza building on Rt. 52. The referendum failed. Some of the reasons sited for lack of voter approval were the 55 mph speed limit in front of the building, lack of sidewalk accessibility, distance from schools, not within walking distance to residential areas.
- In 2011, we had tried to negotiate a contract to purchase the StarCon building. The owner of the building was not interested in signing a contract with the Library because the sale would have been dependant upon a successful referendum.
- In the fall of 2011, the HomeStar Bank approached us to see if we would be interested in the possibility of purchasing their building. At 13,000 square feet, this is the smallest we could possibly consider and still have a viable library for our growing population. The site seems to meet the criteria that was lacking with Benck’s Plaza. The speed limit is 35 mph, it has sidewalk accessibility, it is close to Wilson Creek School, and it is located near one of the most heavily populated areas in the district, across from the walking trail/bike path and close to the Metra Station. In addition, it is of masonry construction which will eliminate the heating and air conditioning issues that we have with the building that we currently own and occupy.
- What will happen with the present facility if the referendum is approved?
- The building will be sold. The proceeds from the sale will be put into an account to use for unexpected operating expenses that may be incurred as a result of moving into the new facility.