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.

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