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Vernon Area Library to Close for 3-Month Remodeling Project

The library's main building will close beginning March 5, but patrons will still have access to materials via a smaller "Library to Go."

The Vernon Area Public Library's main building will close for remodeling beginning March 5.

Patrons will have continued access to books, DVDs, games, and other materials via a “Library to Go” to be operated out of the former library building on Indian Creek Road.

The $1.3 million renovation package was approved in January by the library’s Board of Trustees. Planned improvements include a new self-service café, a quiet reading room with a fireplace, and new dedicated areas for teens, early readers, and group study. The public restrooms will also be refinished. 

The 50,000-square foot main library is expected to reopen by the end of May. During the construction period, library patrons will be able to access materials via the “Library to Go” in the library’s Annex building. The library’s Annex building is located directly behind the main library, with an entrance off of Indian Creek Road.

The 10,000-square-foot Annex will be familiar to some as the “old library” — it was home to the Vernon Area Public Library from 1979 until 1993, when the current building opened. It currently houses the library’s Technical Services department, storage for extra copies and seasonal materials, and a large classroom space.

A portion of the Annex will be fitted with shelving, computers, checkout stations, and some seating to provide patrons continued access to materials during renovations.

New books and bestsellers, movies, select magazines, and an assortment of other popular materials will be available for browsing and checkout at the “Library to Go.” Most other materials will be available by request: patrons can find an item in the catalog, place it on hold, and library staff will retrieve the item and notify the patron when it is ready to be picked up.

Patrons are also encouraged to explore the many options for digital materials offered by the library, including e-books, downloadable audiobooks, magazines, music, and more. Digital materials are accessible without a physical visit to the library, and are therefore unaffected by the building renovation. Digital content is accessible through the library’s website.

The project plans were designed by Product Architecture + Design of Chicago, and the project will be managed by Elgin-based IHC Construction Companies, LLC.

Project expenses are being covered by existing funds, which have been saved in a building fund as part of the library’s regular budget. No new loans, bonds, or tax rate increases are being used to pay for these improvements.

— Submitted by the Vernon Area Public Library

Alan Danenberg February 18, 2013 at 10:21 PM
Three months? Just curious why they chose March-May, instead of waiting for the end of the school year. I would think that their usage is much less in the summer. It will be rather hard for those kids who rely on the library as a location for studying as finals approach. I've been a pleased user of the digital resources, although with this going on, the use of digital may become busier and therefore availability may suffer (even though the materials are digital, the "quantities" of a given piece are not unlimited).
BGDANCEMOM February 18, 2013 at 11:46 PM
Agree. This comes on last year's renovations causing major disruptions.
Vernon Area Library February 19, 2013 at 07:39 PM
We are doing our best to minimize the inconvenience to our patrons while improvement work is underway. Because plans call for the public bathrooms to be refinished, we had no choice but to close the building (no public restrooms, no public access permitted). While the main building is closed, we will be operating out of a temporary space located directly in back of the main library. If all goes according to schedule, we will reopen at the end of May in time for finals study week and our busy summer season. On average, we see about 20% more traffic during June-July-August than any other time of year. Your point about increased pressure on digital resources is a good one and has been passed on to librarian staff so we can do what we can to meet everyone's needs.
Alan Danenberg February 19, 2013 at 07:53 PM
Thanks for sharing the traffic data - I'm surprised at the peak being in the summer, but glad that you recognize it. Digital resources are already a problem. Titles can only be checked out for 2 weeks, versus 3 for hard copies, and nothing can ever be renewed, you have to get back into the queue. Plus most newer titles have lengthy waitlists. With a larger book, I have a long wait to get it, can't finish it in the two weeks, and then have to get back in line to check it out again so I can finish reading it. I know that VAPL is subject to the rules of the "consortium", but as more people are encouraged to utilize the digital library, these rules need to be updated.
BGDANCEMOM February 19, 2013 at 09:21 PM
Alan, many of those rules you mention are driven by publishers & ALA not necessarily from the local library level.

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