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posted: 7/25/2015 7:40 AM

Wauconda library busier since renovation

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  • The renovated kids department at the Wauconda Area Public Library is called Kid City.

    The renovated kids department at the Wauconda Area Public Library is called Kid City.
    Russell Lissau/Daily Herald File Photo

 
 

Foot traffic and checkouts at the Wauconda Area Library have boomed since a $2 million renovation wrapped up earlier this year, officials announced Friday.

The number of patrons in June was up 21 percent from June 2014, Director Tom Kern said. The jump was even higher in May, with this year's total visitors up 29 percent from the same month in 2014.

"It (was) our goal to increase patron count and especially to attract new patrons to the library -- people who otherwise may never have come to the library," Kern said.

Circulation is on the rise, too.

Library officials highlighted an increase in DVD and Blu-ray checkouts as being particularly noteworthy, because the facility's movie collection is in a new location on new shelves.

Customers checked out more than 23,000 movies in June, officials said, up 48 percent from June 2014.

The renovation took about four months. The project was funded with money from savings, a loan and a state grant.

The bulk of the project focused on the lower-level children's department, which was gutted and renamed Kid City. The space is loaded with new computers, reading areas, a replica airplane with a slide and cockpit and a giant, touch-screen computer monitor for gaming.

"We especially love to see how popular Kid City has already become," Kern said. "One thing that surprised us a bit was how many more boys and dads we're seeing."

The main level now has a digital classroom, high-tech study rooms and a lab for digital projects, among other new amenities.

"The library is now a dynamic community center for everyone, no matter what your age or background, for learning, discovery, collaboration, communication, creativity, enrichment, or for just plain fun," Kern said. "It is a place of infinite possibilities. As our slogan says, 'Start here. Go anywhere.'"

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