Aspen Drive Library being eyed for expansion in Vernon Hills

The popular Aspen Drive Library in Vernon Hills is being eyed for a facility expansion, officials said Friday.

Talks are preliminary, Cook Memorial Public Library District Director Stephen Kershner said in an interview. A budget hasn’t been created, nor have any plans been drafted, he said.

A timetable hasn’t been set yet, either.

“It is really (an) early-stage discussion,” Kershner said.

The library opened in 2010 as a sister facility to the Cook Park Library in Libertyville. It was part of a $14 million construction project that also included the expansion and renovation of the Cook Park Library.

The Aspen Drive facility was welcomed by the Vernon Hills community, which had been seeking its own library for years.

During the 2013 fiscal year, an estimated 269,000 patrons visited the library, up more than 4 percent from the previous year. They borrowed 520,000 items, according to library statistics.

Staffers have fielded questions from patrons about whether the parking lot would be expanded or if some departments would get more space, Kershner said.

That inspired library trustees and employees to discuss possible expansion during a daylong planning retreat in late September, Kershner said.

The board’s planning committee kicked around the issue in October, and now it’s on the building and grounds committee’s plate.

Board member Wendy Vieth, who leads the building committee, said she’s heard patron requests to expand many areas of the library. The children’s department has come up often.

“The kids area for sure is not adequate for the amount of people who are coming,” Vieth said.

Cook Memorial officials also have talked about expanding the parking lot.

The library has 69 parking spots. Kershner has said he’d like at least 50 more.

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