The $23 million modernization and expansion of the Poplar Creek Library's main branch in Streamwood, which reopened in June 2009 with twice the space, has received the No. 1 ranking among new libraries from The Library Journal, a well recognized national library publication.
The journal decided to create an annual list, New Landmark Libraries, to single out libraries that could inspire others that were looking to build or redesign space.
A panel of 16 judges picked Poplar Creek Public Library first out of 10 winners and 10 runners-up when considering libraries that were new or underwent major renovations in the last six years. Among six factors that weighed heavily included were green design and shifts in service models.
The design team of Frye Gillan Molinaro and the library trustees wanted a design that was fresh, technologically advanced, reduced the library's carbon footprint, and reflected input from the community and staff.
Smart planning has yielded many savings and benefits for the service area, made up primarily of Streamwood and Hanover Park. The library, which has a roof of green plants, has lower utility costs than before the 30-year-old building at 1405 S. Park Ave. doubled in size.
The green zone, a favorite of children, is a path in the library that links the children's and adult areas with a hall of computers for the patrons.
The main level features the amoeba, a curved platform in the center of the floor plan that allows views to the lower level. Also incorporated into the building's interior design is a 100-foot LED panel light wall, where colors, patterns and rhythms can be changed with the time of day or the change of seasons.
The green roof provides extra insulation, LED lights conserve electricity, and sun scoops capture heat in the winter and release it in the summer.
Recycled rubber flooring, large splashes of color, and cutting edge interior design along with advanced use of technology all work together to give Poplar Creek Library something special that serves as a cultural hub in the community.
The glass beacon tower at the entrance serves to welcome visitors. Once inside, the design opens up to a unique experience for library users.
Among features cited specifically in the Library Journal article were these:
• "Self-service and a slew of automation technologies allowed its circulation staff to get out on the floor to greet people and help them get what they need."
• "Open floor plans are easier to control and … that means less vandalism."
• "The globe lighting at Poplar Creek Public Library, along with its iconic furniture and 'far out' experience, also is a nod to museum-quality spaces."