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updated: 2/6/2013 5:04 PM

Palatine Library about to undergo major renovation

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Creating a video using green screen technology or converting a favorite vinyl record to a digital file are just a couple new services Palatine Public Library patrons will soon be able to access.

The library is about to embark on a major renovation, its first to the main level since the building opened in 1993.

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"We don't have the ability to expand our space, so we need to re-purpose it," said Assistant Director Anthony Auston, who's also the project manager. "Our service models have evolved and changed in response to the needs of the community, so it's important we create services to reflect that."

Officials hope work will begin later this month and be completed -- with minimal disruption in service -- by mid-May. Renovation bids that were due Tuesday are being reviewed, and staff will make a recommendation at the Feb. 13 board of trustees meeting.

The library isn't expected to close at any point and all collections will remain accessible.

The project cost isn't to exceed $900,000, Auston said. The library will use existing funds and reserves, as well as request nominal contributions from the library's foundation and the Friends of the Library group.

The renovation will unify the separate circulation and audiovisual desks, a change that will be more user-friendly, allow the library to more efficiently manage its staff and free up space for more DVDs, CDs and audiovisual materials.

Some rooms in the audiovisual section currently being used for storage will be converted to study spaces. The renovation also will move all children's nonfiction materials from the second floor so that all children's services are on the main floor.

Auston said the library will create a dedicated early literacy area with interactive games and activities that support critical thinking and early cognitive skills.

The renovation also will result in the library's first two digital media labs. Each room will have a green screen, video cameras that can be checked out, a fully optimized Mac Pro computer and content creation software.

Digital media editing labs will allow patrons to digitize existing analog content such as vinyl records or VHS tapes. Reel-to-reel technology may be available in the future depending on the demand.

"We're providing all the technology infrastructure that people typically wouldn't be able to afford," Auston said. "It's becoming somewhat of a trend to offer this."

Other cosmetic improvements include the installation of automatic door openers in bathrooms, new carpet throughout most of the main floor, a refurbished garage entry area and new furniture.

The library's second floor underwent a renovation about two years ago.

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