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Lillie M. Evans Library District
In 2016, the Lillie M. Evans Library District will embark on a construction project that will expand the library space. Accommodating community needs has been a driving force for this project. A new addition will address some of the needs that have arisen in the last decade by focusing on the children’s programming and community programming needs.
This expansion project has the potential to improve library services in several areas. More space is needed for the children’s area and for meeting room/study room spaces. Currently, there is no provision for very young children and no place for parents to sit with children. In addition, shelving for children’s materials is inadequate. Due to the lack of floor space, some children’s shelving is too tall for children to reach comfortably.
Another area that the expansion will address is the undersized meeting room. Although we have partnered with other organizations to offer exhibits and programs, our library spaces are not adequate or comfortable to present some of the “educational, cultural and recreational programs that reflect community needs and interests” (SOP 3.0, Chapter 9 [Programming], Standard 4). Heavily attended library programs overfill the room forcing attendees to stand outside of the entrance doors craning to see. The addition of a larger meeting room would provide more space for programming, storage for furniture and supplies, and additional community space.
The addition can be constructed with little impact on library operations. The library can fully function and we’d like to organize the transition in the same way we did the 2013 flooring project. The library staff planned the implementation in phases and we were able to stay open throughout the entire process.
The Lillie M. Evans Library District is an attractive, well-designed library that has been successful in masking our inadequacies for years. However, these inadequacies and limitations have become a detriment in fulfilling our mission. We are in small community in a rural area with few businesses and services. The community depends on us to provide “materials and services to help residents meet their personal, education, cultural, and professional needs” and to support “an environment for life-long learning” (LME Library Mission). This addition will allow the Lillie M. Evans Library’s facilities to better serve the community today and for decades to come.
The Library board and staff have been working on this project for more than a decade. As early as 2003, a SWOT analysis conducted by the Princeville Civic Association indicated there were concerns that “inadequate library/multimedia facilities” continued to be a weakness in the educational resources of our community. In early 2006, the library board began anticipating another expansion, and in 2008, purchased the property next door to the library. At that time, there was a vague notion that the library needed more space so when the opportunity arose to purchase adjacent land, the board quickly bought the property. Even though the library purchased the property, it was leased by the previous owner so that he could continue operating his business out of the premise until his retirement in 2012.
In 2010, responses from the Library’s Long Range Planning focus group indicated that there was an overwhelming need from community members for additional expansion of the library. Several building needs were identified during the Library’s Long Range Planning process. At first, the board and staff worked to address issues by redefining and repurposing spaces. From 2011-2013, spaces were rearranged, shelving was added, the interior was repainted and the flooring was replaced. However, there was no way to address the lack of meeting rooms and the inadequate children’s area. It was only after these efforts did it become apparent that the library needed more space, and an additional expansion project was necessary.
Building Program - 2014
Once the board realized that the library was unable to provide “the right amount of space of the right kind to meet the provisions of its long-range/strategic plan” (Serving Our Public 3.0: Standards for Illinois Public Libraries, Chapter 4 [Facilities]) they began following the Standards for Creating New or Expanded Facilities. In 2014, the board hired building consultant, Fred Schlipf, to assist with the creation of a building program. This allowed the board and staff to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the library building and prioritize the additional community needs for the building. We had numerous meetings with staff and board members and conducted a focus group and community survey. Throughout the entire process, the board, staff, and community expressed their appreciation of the flexibility and beauty of the existing library space so the expansion has been designed around the existing building. Service areas will move but little remodeling or construction will take place on the existing library.
Architectural Plans - 2015
After the building program was complete, the board published a request for qualifications in spring 2015, and several architectural firms submitted packets. The field was narrowed to three finalists and the architectural firm of Wright and Associates was chosen. One of the key elements in selecting this firm was the opportunity to work with lead architect, Donald Westlake again. Donald was the architect for the 2001 expansion project.
Once the architectural firm was hired, we turned our attention to the property purchased in 2008. Unfortunately, the building was in such disrepair and the design was not in harmony with the library’s structure so it could not be used for the library expansion. The architects assisted the board with the demolition process. The architects had the building inspected for asbestos (none was found), advertised for bids, completed bonding and certification, supervised the demolition and the building was removed in August 2015. The site was compacted and prepared for future construction. Once the building was demolished, the site was surveyed and a soil survey was completed.
In fall of 2015, Wright and Associates worked with the building program, the staff, and board to develop schemes for the library expansion. After many revisions, we produced a floor plan that met the majority of our community defined needs. Once we had a floor plan, we worked with the architects to develop a furniture plan. We are reusing all the existing shelving and seating and we wanted to make sure it fit and functioned in the defined spaces. The outdoor elevations have been designed to match the existing structure and the architects are working diligently to find a brick match. The construction documents phase began in late 2015, and the architects have completed the preliminary drawings.
Now that we have the contractor's bid, the project is estimated to cost a total of $1.5 million. The expansion project will be financed with grants, TIF funds, charitable gifts, and financing. There are no plans to request a referendum. Library funds have been used to pay the consultant and architectural fees and will pay for part of the construction costs. In addition, we have also been awarded a FY16 $125,000 Live & Learn Construction grant (administered from the Secretary of State and State Librarian) and an annual disbursement of $25,000 from Princeville Village TIF 1 District. Please contact the library for information on donating to the project.
Groundbreaking Ceremony - PR released 9/28/16