By Trish Noack, Supervisor of Public Relations
The $28 million building project undertaken by Peoria Public Library has become highly visible as steel framework goes up at the North Branch, the future lounge area has replaced the old front entrance of the Main Library while workers are visible high atop the new entrance and invitations for the Lincoln Branch groundbreaking arrive in mailboxes.
The fury of activity, finally visible to the public, culminates after years of behind the scenes work on the long-range plan, highly successful referendum and design phase. Public input was sought and incorporated into the designs for all the buildings. North Branch, which sits on a six-acre piece of prairie, will have an outdoor reading space as well as a fascinating children’s story-time room in a rotunda.
The Main Library, which will have a new floor open to the public, a new entryway, state-of-the art computer labs and meeting rooms as well as a new local history room continues to operate from the basement level. On the first, second and lower level 1 framing for new spaces is almost complete and in late June crews will cut a 16 x 16 hole in the second story roof for a new skylight that will bring long-sought light to the dark interior of the building. Crews have also been making needed repairs to the exterior of the original building and its roof.
Lincoln Branch construction will start in August, on the heels of the July 9 groundbreaking. Careful renovation of the historic, landmarked Carnegie Library and the 12,000 foot addition will finally bring state-of-the art library service to the south side of Peoria. The branch will also have a wonderful story-time room, computers, meeting rooms, study spaces and state-of-the art service.
All branches will have self-check out desks, enabling librarians to help patrons find materials, answer questions and provide programming. The Main Library will reopen in Spring of 2011 as will the new North Branch. The Lincoln Branch will re-open in Summer 2011.