Cook Memorial now aiming for January opening

 
 

Closed now for more than a year because of a $7 million construction project, the main Cook Memorial Public Library in Libertyville likely will remain shuttered until early January, officials said Friday.

Prior estimates had called for a November opening, but a summertime construction strike and basement-level flooding prompted the schedule change for the Cook Park site, said Stephen Kershner, Cook Memorial's new executive director.

The delays are not causing cost overruns, said Kershner, who was hired this summer and has been on the job for about three weeks.

It's not the first delay for the library project, which initially was scheduled to be completed this month.

The library closed in June 2009 in preparation for an 11,000-square-foot expansion and renovation. During the construction, patrons have been visiting a temporary storefront library at Milwaukee Avenue and Route 176.

The project coincided with the construction of the new, $7 million Aspen Drive Library in Vernon Hills, the district's other large community. That building opened in July.

After the construction work in Libertyville wraps up, crews will move in furniture, shelves, new telecommunications equipment and other gear, Kershner said. Then the books, DVDs, CDs and other items comprising the facility's collection will be moved into the building.

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An estimated 45,000 items now are being stored in a warehouse, and thousands of others are at the temporary library, Kershner said.

"That's a little more than an overnight move, he said.

Much of that preparation work will be done before the temporary library is closed to reduce the impact on patrons, Kershner said. The goal, he said, is to "minimize distress to the users.