Bloomingdale library plans event to unveil makerspace, Dominic Froio Memorial Garden

The Bloomingdale Public Library will unveil a new "makerspace" Sept. 25 that will offer creative tools such as 3D printers and sewing machines for members of the public to use.

At the same time, the library will open the Dominic Froio Memorial Garden, a new outdoor space that was made possible by a $513,000 posthumous donation by longtime resident and former village trustee Dominic Froio in honor of his daughter, who died of cancer at age 16.

There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony for both areas at 10 a.m. Sept. 25 with treats, crafts and live entertainment.

The makerspace will be a new public room for do-it-yourself projects located in the basement near the Youth Services area. Available for library card holders aged 12 and older for up to two hours per day, it also will have paper cutters, heat presses and LED light boxes.

Conceptualized in 2018 and planned for an April 2020 debut, the makerspace was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We see the trend in public libraries to evolve them into a programming space," Library Director Tim Jarzemsky said.

Library cardholders must fill out a waiver before using the makerspace. The room's capacity will be 15 people.

The Dominic Froio Memorial Garden is a legacy of the World War II Marine veteran who supported the library and other nonprofits throughout his life.

Described as a gruff man with a big heart, Froio had worked in the printing industry and invested his money in the stock market and made numerous contributions to the Bloomingdale Public Library over the years.

He had an affinity for Mexico's people and culture, and he donated a 647-piece Mexican art collection worth $20,000 that the library sold in 1994.

The Froio Memorial Garden pays homage to his daughter Donna Beth and is intended as a symbol of embracing cultural diversity.

The garden will feature canopies in the shape of 16 multicolored dragonfly wings, symbolizing the age of Donna Beth at the time of her death. A statement from the library said the colors of the dragonfly wings "symbolize diversity of cultures and ethnicities that comprise the fabric of our society."

The outdoor space will also expand patron programming and will include a butterfly garden certified by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, new lighting, and outdoor seating with Wi-Fi access.

"He was a very generous individual," Jarzemsky said. "We had no clue that he would leave us with such a large donation after he died but we are overwhelmed and so happy and thankful that he gave us this gift."

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