Endorsement: 'Yes' to new Helen Plum Library in Lombard
Lombard residents are asked to approve borrowing about $22.3 million to demolish the Helen Plum Library and build a new one on the existing site and an adjacent vacant lot. The move would double the size of the current building, and it would mean an annual property tax increase of about $131 to the owner of a $200,000 home.
Library officials have done their due diligence, and the measure deserves support. After initial public meetings on the project were poorly attended, more were scheduled. Consultants laid out numerous options that ranged from patching the 53-year-old building to building the new facility. It revealed that even cursory repairs to the aged building would cost between $5 million and $6 million.
It has been 40 years since voters have approved any kind of library tax increase, and library leaders note per capita costs are lower in Lombard than other comparable area library. It is easy to suggest that in this digital age, libraries' needs for space, presumably by a decreasing demand for books, has diminished. But that's a shortsighted view of how their roles have changed. And the Helen Plum is lagging behind in that regard.
The new building would provide more space for computers and other equipment; study rooms; a drive-through, and expanded spaces for teens and children.
Further, the new library would provide better access and flow to another Lombard gem, Lilacia Park.
We recommend a yes vote.