Residents asked to weigh in on potential new Fox Valley library

  • Parents and kids are crowded in to a corner space for storytime Wednesday at the Randall Oaks Branch Library. The Fox River Valley Public Library District is holding a public forum next week, this time to gauge residents' interest in a new library on the west side of the river.

      Parents and kids are crowded in to a corner space for storytime Wednesday at the Randall Oaks Branch Library. The Fox River Valley Public Library District is holding a public forum next week, this time to gauge residents' interest in a new library on the west side of the river. Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • The IT Room/closet doubles as storage at the Randall Oaks Branch Library. Fox River Valley Public Library District Director Roxane Bennett said the facility doesn't offer enough space or resources to meet the need of its residents.

      The IT Room/closet doubles as storage at the Randall Oaks Branch Library. Fox River Valley Public Library District Director Roxane Bennett said the facility doesn't offer enough space or resources to meet the need of its residents. Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 2/4/2016 10:31 AM

Fox River Valley Public Library District officials hope to gauge residents' interest in the concept of a new library on the west side of the river.

For nearly four years, the Randall Oaks Branch Library has been operating within the Randall Oaks Recreation Center, a Dundee Township Park District building at 500 N. Randall Road, West Dundee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

That 5,000-square-foot facility, however, doesn't offer enough space, resources or services to meet the needs of the community, Director Roxane Bennett said.

As part of the district's "Designing Our Future" initiative, residents can weigh in on preliminary concepts and floor plans for a potential west side library at three public sessions Tuesday. The meetings will take place at 11 a.m. at the Dundee Library and at 1 and 7 p.m. at the Randall Oaks Library.

"We have families looking for more on the west side -- more programs, more services, more options," Bennett said. "Eventually, we'll probably have two-thirds of our population on the west side. This new facility would be sized to meet those needs."

The district serves more than 70,000 residents in East Dundee, West Dundee, Carpentersville, Gilberts, Sleepy Hollow and parts of Algonquin.

District officials have been seeking input regarding future library development since last fall. So far, Bennett said, informational sessions and feedback have focused primarily on the renovation of the Dundee Library, 555 Barrington Ave., East Dundee.

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"Now we're ready to look at the other side of the river," she said.

In just two years, the number of residents visiting the Randall Oaks Library has nearly doubled, from 37,597 in 2013 to 68,932 in 2015, said Cris Cigler, public relations and outreach manager.

District officials hope to discuss at Tuesday's forums how to best serve a growing population. Joe Huberty, a partner at Engberg Anderson who specializes in library design and development, will also present ideas and listen to residents' feedback.

"(The designs) aren't terribly detailed at this point," Bennett said. "We want to make sure that in the preliminary design process, we're able to incorporate all the things that people want."

Features of a new library may include a computer lab, meeting and study rooms, a children's garden and a teen center with appropriate games, books and technology.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Cigler said the new space may also have a place for community groups to meet even after the library is closed.

Additionally, Bennett said, administrative offices will likely be moved to the new building from the Dundee Library, allowing for more space there.

When the Randall Oaks Library opened in 2012, the library district paid upfront to use the park district facility for five years. That contract ends in August 2017, at which point a second agreement begins, allowing the library to remain in that space while paying rent for up to five more years.

"(When) we can get into our own building, we'll be able to apply what we normally would pay for rent to the cost of the new building," Bennett said. "The sooner, the better."

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