La Grange Park renovates public library

Library plans for new project in spring 2023, will repair water damage, revamp floor plan


Catherine Crousore, Reporter

For more than 40 years, the La Grange Park Public Library has served the community by providing resources, programs, education, and assistance to people in the area. Due to a delay from COVID 19, the library will finally be conducting a major construction project to the existing building. 

This upcoming spring of 2023, they will be adding on many new features that offer the community of La Grange Park new opportunities. As these renovations are in their early development, there currently is no end date.

“We’re very happy with the progress we’ve been making,” Laurie Whitman, President of the Library Board of Trustees, said. “The kind of renovations that we have been talking about will take us into the future, which is great.” 

The root of this major building project started with an issue that arose around 2015. The board members have been aware of a severe water breach, primarily affecting the drywall and rusting the pillars on the east and west sides of the building. This issue originated from the way that the building was first constructed in 1989, with the intention of further renovation and expansion.

“I’ve been on the board for at least 12 years, and I cannot remember when [water damage] wasn’t a problem,” Whitman said. “People have known about it for at least 10 years now.” 

After further evaluation, conducting water studies, and consulting with construction companies, they concluded that the damage was extensive, and that they would need to restructure and update those walls entirely, Whitman said. 

“Once we got involved with all of the studies we thought ‘Let’s just make our checklist, and get it all done at once,’” Whitman said. 

A local La Grange architecture firm, 845 Design Group, interviewed library employees, members of the board, as well as conducted a community survey, to gather input about what improvements would like to see in the renovations by people who frequent the library, Whitman said. They also hosted an open house on Sept. 1, in which they described some of the plans they have finalized, displaying the 3D renderings of what the future of the library has to offer.

“The responses were definitely positive,” Whitman said. “Everyone so far has said that they loved the new design, and that it’s so pretty. We are super excited to see what is to come of it.”

While the final cost of the project is unknown, the library has devoted a budget of roughly $1.5 million to building repairs and a revamped floor plan. Some of the additions to the building consist of a new bathroom placement on the main floor, creating meeting rooms, more enclosed spaces, and even a ‘Maker Space,’ which would offer a chance for people to use and learn different technologies, like 3D printers. 

“Having an updated, more revamped layout will be great,” librarian Gabe Oppenheim said. “I’m also excited about the non-fiction section upstairs, and how it will be more categorized like a bookstore.”

The La Grange Park Public Library is located at 555 N La Grange Rd, La Grange Park, and is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.