The new West Side branch of the Fox River Valley Public Library District welcomed more than 1,700 visitors, who were eager to check out the project during its grand opening on Saturday.
"It's very exciting, everyone has been waiting a long time to have services out this way," said Nancy Kendzior, the branch's manager.
Contact information ( * required )
The district bought 20,000 new items, including books, DVDs and video games, for the expansion. The branch also has four computers with Internet access, three computers for children and three self-checkout machines.
The branch is located within the new Randall Oaks Recreation Center, which held its own grand opening the same day. The recreation center belongs to the Dundee Township Park District.
Among the library's visitors were Katrina Burmeister, her husband, Brian Lindholm, and their children Tory, 7, and Gabriella, 2, all of Sleepy Hollow.
Burmeister says she's been going to the district's East Side branch for 15 years, at least once a week.
Now that the new branch is open, they predict they'll be spending more time there, depending on the programs that are offered for children.
"The building itself is really impressive," Lindholm said. "It's cool that they were able to share space with the recreation center."
Burmeister also joined the fitness center upstairs, so she'll have even more of a reason to frequent the recreation center, she said.
The library district paid $450,000 to lease 5,000 square feet of space in the center for five years and the contract can be renewed only for another five years, said Library Director Roxane Bennett.
After that, it isn't known where the library will go, but Bennett predicts that a new home will be necessary.
There's only 25,000 square feet at the East Side branch and the West Side branch doesn't offer much room for programming, Bennett said. She predicts that the district of 70,000 people will need between 60,000 and 100,000 square feet of library space.
Right now, the library has only 30,000 square feet.
"We're going to need a new building, if the taxpayers want a new building," Bennett said. "Otherwise, we may need to look for another space."
The branch will be open Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 8 p.m., and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The library will be closed on Fridays and Sundays.
Meanwhile, the grand opening of the Randall Oaks Recreation Center attracted nearly 3,500 people, officials said.
People started arriving a half-hour early to tour the facility that includes a gym, a fitness center and a room for children .
"We just got slammed," said Jim Miller, deputy director of the Dundee Township Park District. "We weren't turning them away."