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Barrington Area Library Trustees Consider Renovation Plan

For Immediate Release
Contact: Karen McBride, Public Information Manager, 847-382-1300 X205 kmcbride(AT)balibrary.org

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Barrington Area Library Trustees Consider Renovation Plan

An aging building, increased usage and shifting patron needs and expectations are leading Barrington Area Library trustees to consider a significant renovation plan for the 33-year-old library building.

After a failed attempt to build a new library through a 2008 referendum, the trustees sought a path forward that was predicated on reconfiguring the existing facility. In 2011, the board commissioned a Strategic Facilities Plan, which became the foundation for the proposed renovation now being evaluated.

The library’s aging infrastructure requires major capital improvements. The current building opened its doors in 1978 with an addition completed in 1992. Some mechanical systems date back to the original building. If adopted, the complete renovation project is expected to cost approximately $5.7 million. The board expects to be able to cover the cost of the renovation project through current budget reserves, rather than asking the community for a tax increase.

As a result of the proposed renovation, patrons can expect a shorter distance from the front door to points of service and easier access to the second floor. Other proposed improvements include 24/7 access for picking up materials and a drive-up materials return. Meeting rooms will be redesigned for better acoustics and “smart room” technology. More space will be created for children’s programs, allowing for increased attendance and a wider variety of programming.

“Choices made now regarding the infrastructure would be very costly to reverse in the future, so this is the ideal opportunity to look at improvements needed throughout the facility,” explains board President Donald F. Minner. “Our goal is to reimagine the entire space, making it easily adaptable to new usage and service trends, while providing our patrons with a flexible and welcoming environment. Ultimately, we will transform a 1970s-era building into a public library for the 21st century.”

The library’s Executive Director Detlev Pansch adds, “Space will be reconfigured to allow for more collaboration and content creation, and important services, such as computers and group work spaces, will be prominently featured. We need an updated, more welcoming space for high school students, too. The overall vision for this much-needed renovation plan is to preserve the Barrington Area Library’s role as a significant community asset.” The board is expected to vote in early 2012 whether to proceed with the renovation plan.

The Barrington Area Library is located at 505 N. Northwest Highway, Barrington, IL. Serving more than 44,000 residents of Barrington and many surrounding communities, it is the largest library district in Illinois, geographically speaking, covering 72 square miles. The library is open 7 days a week and offers a comprehensive selection of books, DVDs, music and more for children and adults. Learn more at the library’s virtual branch: balibrary.org.

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Related stories:
"Barrington Library Could Get $5.7 Million Upgrade," Daily Herald. January 4, 2012.

"Barrington Area Library Pondering $5.7 Million Project," Barrington Courier-Review. January 5, 2012.

"Barrington Library Looking at $5.7 Million Renovation," TribLocal, January 6, 2012.