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Barrington Area Library Trustees vote to move forward with renovation plan

For Immediate Release                               March 15, 2012

Contact: Karen McBride, Public Information Manager, 847-382-1300 X205 kmcbride@balibrary.org

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Barrington Area Library Trustees vote to move forward with renovation plan

After several months of study and consideration, Barrington Area Library trustees have unanimously voted to move forward on plans to renovate the 33-year-old library facility. The vote took place at the regularly scheduled board meeting on Monday, March 12.

After a failed attempt to build a new library through a 2008 referendum, the trustees pursued an alternative goal of renovating and refurbishing the existing building. In 2010, the board commissioned a Strategic Facilities Plan, which evaluated the current facility and provided a number of potential scenarios for renovation. Now that the renovation project has been approved, the board and library administration will move forward in a responsible, deliberate fashion to eventually provide what Executive Director Detlev Pansch calls, “a 21st century library with a vastly improved customer experience.”

The current library building opened its doors in 1978 with an addition completed in 1992. Some mechanical systems date back to the original building and consequently are in great need of repair or replacement. With these major capital improvements already in sight, the board felt this was the optimal time to consider other improvements to the building and grounds. "We are confident that the interior renovation of the library will benefit all our patrons. When complete, we will have transformed the facility into a more functional, accessible space giving us the ultimate flexibility in delivering our services. In addition, we will have replaced aging mechanical systems which are on their last legs,” states Board President Don Minner.

The cost of the renovation project will be covered through current budget reserves, rather than a tax increase. The board felt this was the best option for preserving the library building as an important community asset while remaining fiscally responsible. The next phase of planning for the renovation consists of giving the existing building a thorough and detailed analysis, evaluating the activities and service points of each department and the space needed for those activities. This analysis will be provided to the architect, who will use it to begin the initial design phase. Outdoor parking lots and lighting will also be reconsidered as well as the information, technology and space needs of new generations of library users. The project may be completed as early as the summer of 2013, if the renovation proceeds according to the proposed timetable. “With thoughtful planning now, we hope to keep the entire project running smoothly on course and minimize disruption to our patrons,” states Pansch.

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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More news on the library renovation: "Library board approves $98,000 for plans," Barrington Courier-Review, Friday, March 16, 2012.