La Grange library cuts ribbon celebrating grand opening

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La Grange library cuts ribbon celebrating grand opening

The temporary entrance to the La Grange library in the fall (Klein/LION).

The temporary entrance to the La Grange library in the fall (Klein/LION).

The temporary entrance to the La Grange library in the fall (Klein/LION).

The temporary entrance to the La Grange library in the fall (Klein/LION).

Lulu Griffin, Freelance Reporter

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The La Grange Public Library hosted a ribbon-cutting reception to celebrate the grand opening of the newly renovated facility.

“The library is the real heartbeat of the village,” Village President Tom Livingston said. “It’s always good to modernize in order to attract a new generation of residents to the library.”

The $1.2 million project was funded through special buildings reserve, the new Executive Director, Charity Gallardo said. Using its regular budget, the library saved up enough money for the renovations.

A total of 700 square feet of indoor space was added, according to the 2018 Annual Report.

An open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Saturday, Feb. 9, to show off the remodeled space and to thank the library staff and board for its vision and dedication.

“We wanted to expand the building to create a more welcoming feel,” Gallardo said. “So we moved the front wall out to open the space up and make it brighter and easier to see.”

Opening the walls created numerous delays, she said. Construction workers found unexpected obstacles, causing a redesign of the steel framework.

“For us, the biggest challenge was the coordination,” Member Services Clerk Mary Martinec said. “When the library was closed, we were still open and working. Our department especially had to keep moving things around during construction.”

Martinec said that the renovations were supposed to be done in October, but the due date kept being pushed back. The final additions were completed earlier in February.

The finalized project features a newly carpeted and painted children’s department with tactile play pieces and an interactive wall.

“It’s really great,” Tina Happel, a frequent patron, said. “I wish we had this when my kids were little.”

For all patrons, there is a new service desk and a coffee machine in the main entrance. The new and popular items are prominently displayed on the first level.

Library staff, budgeted, visited other libraries, and met with the architects, Martinec said.

Though renovations just finished, Gallardo said that the library has already received positive feedback and she has seen families exploring the modified children’s space.

“When people of all ages come here to learn and have enjoyment,” Livingston said. “It is good for the whole community.”

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