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Article posted: 3/9/2013 8:00 AM

Vernon Area library services relocating

By Russell Lissau

Vernon Area Public Library patrons will have to do a bit of time-traveling if they want to check out books, DVDs and other materials for the next few months.

A $1.3 million renovation project has shut down the 20-year-old facility at 300 Olde Half Day Road in Lincolnshire. Instead of eliminating services until the work wraps up in May, staffers will man the former library, known as the annex, and offer materials to patrons there. It will open to the public at 9 a.m. today.

A building that's orange and set behind the library, the annex hasn't exactly been gathering dust for two decades.

It's been used for storage, book sales and programs in recent years. The technical services staff has worked there for about five years, too.

The library board approved the renovation project in January. The 50,000-square-foot building won't be expanded; all the work will be done to the interior space.

Planned improvements include a self-service cafe, a quiet reading room with a fireplace, dedicated areas for teens and young readers, and group study space.

Restrooms will be refinished, too.

Space that's currently reserved for employees will be converted to create the new public areas, library Director Cynthia Fuerst said. When the work is done, the staff areas will be smaller.

"We're trying to make it more functional (with) more usable space," Fuerst said.

The project is financed with savings in a dedicated building fund, officials said.

The annex building served as the Vernon Area Public Library from 1979 to 1993. The space has been fitted with bookshelves, computers, a checkout station and some seating for its new purpose.

Despite the relocation, the library's operating hours won't change. This weekend, the annex will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Patrons are encouraged to access the library catalog digitally, too. That content is available at the library's website, vapld.info.

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