Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Referendum Committee Meetings

Please mark your calendars and plan to join us at the upcoming meetings of the Library Referendum Committee. Over the next several weeks, we plan to meet every other Monday to discuss issues relating to the campaign and to make plans for all of the promotions and initiatives that we feel are necessary to win the referendum in April. The meetings are short and we will need the support of people from all parts of the village, so we hope you can find some time to join us to learn how you can help. Here is the information for the next three meetings:

Dates: February 5, February 19, and March 5
Place: Heritage Presbyterian Church
Address: 965 N. Kuhn Road
Time: 6:00 p.m.

The meetings generally last about an hour. If you would like to help but cannot attend the meetings, please contact the members of the committee at the following address:


We hope to see you on Monday!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Defining the Need: Facility Space

Earlier this month, we reminded readers that the existing library building was designed to hold an estimated 120,000 volumes when it was built in the 1970’s, but we now find ourselves in 2007 with current holdings of over 182,000 items. Without doubt, the most pressing need for our library as we look to the future is additional facility space to house new and existing materials as well as provide adequate room for reading programs, children’s activities, and special community events.

To illustrate the need for a larger facility, consider the data contained in the comparison chart below. Several nearby suburban communities are included in the chart along with the size of their respective public libraries as measured in square footage. As you can see at a glance, the existing Carol Stream Library is smaller than every other library in the comparison. Several nearby facilities have two to three times as much floor space as we currently have available, even though the populations they serve are similar in size to the current population of Carol Stream.

Visual evidence is the best way to assess this critical space shortage. Take a few minutes to walk through the stacks and you will see immediately why more space is needed now and in the future. The images below show a very common problem--patrons and staff workers unable to see or reach books that must be kept high on the top shelves because no other room is available. Shelves in both the adult and children’s section of the Library are packed to capacity, including the top and bottom shelves that are very difficult for some patrons to reach.

The cover article of the recent “Between the Lines” library newsletter offers some bleak prospects for the future of materials and services that many patrons have come to expect. “Some collections, such as VHS tapes and CD-ROMS will be eliminated…other collections will be housed in areas not accessible to the public…The Community Room may be closed and Library programming curtailed.”

The need for additional space has reached critical proportions already, and the issues relating to the overcrowded conditions will become more difficult to manage in years to come if more library space is not created. Carol Stream residents can show their support on April 17. We encourage all residents to visit the Library, become familiar with the current space needs, and vote “yes” on the referendum question in April.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Many Ways to Help

The Library Referendum Committee met on Monday, January 22, and it was good to see a nice turnout of volunteers willing to devote their time and energy to help to inform the residents of Carol Stream about the need for a new library. Several topics were discussed, but one of the most important issues on the agenda was a discussion about the ways that interested residents can help the cause. Here is a list of some of the ways that you can join our effort if you would like to see the April 17 referendum passed:

Make a Contribution: The committee will need funds to print brochures and flyers, distribute lawn signs, mail letters, and possibly insert informative advertisements in local newspapers. If you would like to make a donation, be sure to make your check out to “07 Library Referendum Committee,” and contact one of the two people listed below for information as to how to deliver your contribution.

Host a Coffee Meeting: We hope to schedule a series of informational meetings in homes around the village so that residents can meet in an informal way to raise questions and share ideas about the new library. If you are willing to host such a meeting, please let us know and we will work with you to finalize the details.

Join the Neighborhood Corps: We will be needing volunteers to join us as we go door-to-door speaking with residents and distributing informational flyers. This is an important part of our effort because it provides opportunities to explain the details of the referendum issue and to get feedback from members of the community.

Pass the Word: This CSPL Friends blog was created so that we have a place on the Internet where any interested person can go to read the facts about the proposed new library, share comments, or raise issues that may be important to other readers. It will only be an effective tool, however, if we build a strong base of readers. Subscribe to the blog so that you are alerted when new messages are posted, and pass along the web address to all of your friends in Carol Stream.

Display a Yard Sign: As we get closer to election day, we hope to put out yard signs across the village to remind people to vote on this important issue. Please let us know if you are willing to have a sign in your yard and we will be sure to get one to you.

Remember that if have any questions about the referendum or would like to volunteer your services, just send a message by e-mail to the address below:


-or contact by phone:

Referendum Committee Chair:
Lynn O’Dell (665-2546)

Library Liaison:
Ann Kennedy (344-6101)

Monday, January 22, 2007

New Building or Renovation Project?

When Carol Stream residents cast votes for the library referendum on April 17, many will undoubtedly recognize the need for more space to house books, videos, and other resources, but they may also have one larger question on their minds—does it make more sense to build the proposed new building pictured here or would it be cheaper to simply renovate or expand the existing building? It is an important question that has been put to the architects and members of the planning committee, and it turns out there are several crucial conditions that must be considered:

Flood Plain: Any Carol Stream resident who was here in 1987 will remember the extensive flooding that occurred when Klein Creek overflowed its banks and turned Armstrong Park and the parking lot and streets around the Library into a huge temporary lake. The property on the north side of the building is the land that many have argued would be a good place to build an addition to the Library, but the elevation is several feet lower than the current building. It is literally at the same level as the nearby creek, and would be subject to frequent flooding. Special engineering would be required to prepare this section of the property for building, and the process would be extremely expensive.

Adding On: Critics have argued that if the land behind the Library is unsuitable for an addition, it would still be cheaper to add a second story to the current structure than to build a new building. There is one fundamental flaw with that plan, however—the pilings that were driven into the ground to create the foundation for the existing structure were not designed to support a second story and are not capable of bearing the additional weight that such an addition would create.

Parking Considerations: The number of spaces in the existing parking lot meets the needs and the legal requirements for the size of the existing building, but the lot is not large enough to serve a larger building. There is not enough land on the current site to create a parking lot that would accommodate the growing number of patrons and still meet legal requirements.

Remodeling Costs: Remember that the process of remodeling existing buildings is often more expensive than new construction, particularly when renovations involve extensive wiring and data cabling considerations. One of the most pressing needs is for additional Internet research and computer work stations, but they require new wiring to deliver both power and data. It is an expensive process and one that would create noisy conditions and other inconveniences in the Library for many months.

On top of all of this is one inescapable fact—even if residents were prepared to overcome all of the issues and obstacles that would accompany a project to expand the current building, they would still have to pass a referendum to authorize such costly renovation projects. Given these issues, the inevitable conclusion is that the most efficient and economical way to provide necessary and modern library services is to build a new building that will serve Carol Stream residents for generations to come.

Friday, January 19, 2007

January 22 Committee Meeting

Date: January 22
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Place: 965 N. Kuhn Road

The next meeting of the 2007 Library Referendum Committee will be held at Heritage Presbyterian Church at 6:00 p.m. on January 22. The church is located at 965 N. Kuhn Road. A light meal will be served.

The organizers will present information on a variety of topics relating to the upcoming April 17 referendum, and members of the following committees will give updates:

- Brochures
- Fundraising
- Neighborhood Corps
- Speakers Bureau
- Letters to the Editor
- Newspaper Articles
- Yard Signs

If you would like to serve on any of these committees or help the Referendum Committee in any other way, please contact us to receive more information:


Please join us on Monday!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Map of the New Library Site

If you have heard of the plans to build a new library in Carol Stream but are not sure where it would be located, we are including a simple map to help you. As you can see, the property is on Kuhn Road between Lies Road and North Avenue, and it is directly adjacent to the new College of DuPage Carol Stream Community Education Center.

For those of you who have lived in Carol Stream for many years, you will recognize the site as the Kammes Farm, pictured here in an old photograph from the library archive. This piece of property has been owned by the Kammes family for generations, and it seems fitting that a new community library be built on a location that has played a big role in the history of our community. The school buses pictured here were a common sight several years ago, but they are gone now and much of the Kammes farm land has already been converted into housing developments.

The site of the existing Carol Stream Library was more or less centrally located in the main residential sections of the village when it was built in 1978, but with so much new construction west of County Farm Road in recent years, this new location on Kuhn Road commands a more central location within our village today. With the new Carol Stream Community Education Center right next door, the new Carol Stream Library can help to anchor this section of the community as a center for learning and professional growth.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Defining the Need for a New Building

When the subject of building a new library In Carol Stream comes up, one of the most common questions we hear from residents is why we need to build a new and larger structure. Any resident who has visited the current library in recent years would be able to answer the question after a short tour of the building—shelves loaded to capacity with books and other materials and public reading spaces often filled to overflowing with patrons trying to find places to work and study. The existing building, shown above as it looked when it opened in 1978, served a community of less than 9,700 residents well, but it lacks the space and facilities to adequately serve our village which has grown to over 40,000 residents.

If you have not come in and looked around the current library recently, you might not be aware of some other critical issues that we feel would be resolved with a new and larger building:

Collection Space: The current library building was designed to house a collection of 120,000 books and other materials. In 2007, the collection has grown to over 182,000 items. The shelves are filled to capacity with no space for new books, videos, CDs, or children’s resources. What that means, of course, is that the library staff will have to put restrictions on the purchase of new materials or discard previously purchased materials to make room for new items. Neither option is very appealing or sensible to the large number of patrons who rely on the library for these materials.

Computer Access: When the existing building was constructed in 1978, personal computers were just becoming available to the public and the Internet was a tiny network that connected a few military and university computers in a very rudimentary way. Our library was not designed to house the large numbers of computers with Internet access that current patrons need and expect, and so the number of computer work stations does not come close to matching the needs or demands of our residents. This shortage is especially critical in the Youth Services Department.

Seating and Study Space: If you have visited the library during the after-school hours, evenings, or weekends, you have seen the overcrowded conditions in the main reading areas when available seating is often very limited. Further, the quiet study rooms that were a part of the original library facilities had to be removed several years ago to make room for additional offices and other essential library services.

For more information on this topic and many other pertinent issues, click on the link labeled “Referendum FAQ Page” in the list of options to the right.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Proposed Building Plans

Many people have been interested in seeing the architect's drawings for the proposed new library building, so we have included several below. The two-story plan will provide much needed space for the growing collection and the new building would also create added space for quiet study, computer workstations, and separate areas for children and young adults.

Front View Looking Northwest

Aerial View Looking Northwest

Aerial View Looking Northwest

Aerial View Looking Southeast

Aerial View Looking Southwest

Aerial View Looking West

Site Plan

Library Referendum Committee Meeting

The first meeting of the Carol Stream Library Referendum Committee in 2007 was held on January 9. Library Director Ann Kennedy presented an overview of the proposed building plans and reminded everyone that the plans are also posted on the CSPL website. Several referendum campaign committees have been formed to create informative brochures, a Speaker's Bureau, yard signs, and a variety of writing and fundraising initiatives.

The next meeting of the Referendum Committee will be held at Heritage Presbyterian Church located at 965 N. Kuhn Road.on Monday, January 22, from 6:00-7:00 p.m.. For more information about the meeting or to find out how you can help, just use the e-mail contact: below:


or by phone:

Ann Kennedy (344-6101)
Lynn O'Dell (665-2546)