A third addition to Oswego Public Library? : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|A third addition to Oswego Public Library? |
|Board planning committee discusses options for public meeting room|
|by Lyle R. Rolfe|
Oswego Public Library District residents have been enjoying the downtown Oswego Campus Library since a total interior and exterior renovation was completed two years ago.
But still more changes could one day be in store at the building at 32 West Jefferson Street.
Members of the library district board's planning and development committee recently discussed the possibility of adding a meeting room onto the building.
If an addition is built, it would be the third one constructed since the original 5,000 square-foot building was opened in the mid-1960s.
The last two additions extended the existing single-story building to the east.
But it appears a new addition would have to involve adding a second floor to the far east portion of the building, constructed in 1997.
Up is the only direction the building can grow, according to Sarah Skilton, library director, and Vernita Hettrich, long-time board president.
A second story could add 6,500 square feet of space, they said.
_Someone suggested extending the building into the parking lot instead, but Hettrich said they are prohibited from building in that area.
Board member Terry Tamblyn also noted that expanding into the parking lot would be more expensive.
While board members said a long time dream has been to increase space by building an enclosed bridge across Waubonsie Creek at the north end of the building, many obstacles make this impossible.
The building underwent a total renovation in 2010 and was officially reopened on May 15, 2011 when trustees cut a ribbon at the new main entrance, moved from the center of the building to the southeast corner.
The new entrance is highlighted by a Prairie Style two-story tower, identical to the entrance at the Montgomery Campus Library. Board members agreed that an addition would have to include the tower, which hopefully would not be changed.
Skilton said she would contact PSA Dewberry in Naperville, the architects for the Oswego remodeling and the new Montgomery Campus, to determine whether it would be feasible to build over the 1997 addition. She plans to report back to the board at their Sept 26 meeting.
They said the new space would have to include handicapped accessible restrooms and an elevator.
Tamblyn said the elevator could be added to the exterior of the building as was done with the elevator at the west end of the building. This would save interior space he said.
He said they should have a showcase stairway, which could be installed in the circular area at the southeast corner of the building, just inside the entrance.
Board member Judy Roberts said that in addition to a patron meeting room, they could move the board meetings to the second floor, freeing space in the basement for other uses.
Hettrich said a new second floor also could be used as a media room.
The building dates back to 1964 when residents approved a referendum to establish the Oswego Public Library as a tax supported Oswego Township Library. Prior to that time, the library had been organized and operated on a volunteer basis by the 19th Century Club.
The community got together and pooled donations, and proceeds from bake sales and other fund raising ventures to build the first 5,000 square section of the building.
Before the remodeling, the 1964 building was easily identified as the west end of the library, immediately west of the entrance. In 1971, the basement of the 1964 section was finished and utilized as a children's department.
In 1981, a 9,200 square-foot addition was built, extending the building to the east. This addition was financed with $850,000 in bonds issued in 1979 and were paid off in 1999.
In 1987, the district's geographic area was expanded when the Village of Montgomery and Bristol and Wheatland townships were added by referendum.
As the need for more space continued to grow and the need for a facility that could serve handicapped and elderly persons became apparent, another addition was planned to the east.
In November, 1993, the board sought approval of a $4.6 million bond issue for a 24,000 square-foot addition to the library, but it failed by 1,934 votes no and 1,480 yes.
So, in 1997, board members built a $1 million, 6,500 square-foot addition to the east using existing funds and mortgaging the remainder.
The basement of the 1964 portion became a storage area and part of the first floor was a meeting room with a capacity of 105 people. This section also contained restrooms and the administrative offices for Skilton and Maureen Fisher, business manager.
The 2009 remodeling plans included adding an elevator to the west end of the building for access to the basement, but the area is used only for the staff.
The 3,263 square-foot basement, which originally was a children's area, was closed to the public some years ago because it was not handicapped accessible. It has been used for storage and limited staff uses since then. A kitchenette and restroom already in the basement were updated and it is now used as a break room for the staff as well as an office area for the staff.
Board meetings are held every other month at the basement of the Oswego Campus Library. The room is handicapped accessible by the elevator.
When the remodeling was completed, the original building and the two later additions were melded together making it look like one new building. An abundance of new large windows on all sides of the building gave patrons a view outside and invited people to come into the building.
New windows at the rear of the building allow patrons to sit and look out onto Waubonsie Creek, flowing lazily toward the Fox River. And a new wood deck has been added to the rear of the building where patrons can sit with a book or enjoy nature.
The interior changes were so dramatic patrons thought it had been expanded and asked where the new area was. More space was made available for books and other materials in the meeting room space and by relocating staff areas to the basement.