Will Vernon Area Public Library building expand?
As they plan for the future, Vernon Area Public Library District officials are considering expanding the main building and razing a nearby annex.
Other options include reconfiguring the interior of the 53,700-square-foot main building at 300 Olde Half Day Road in Lincolnshire; remodeling the 11,750-square-foot annex, which is behind the main building; and constructing a usable structure that would connect the main building and annex.
Vernon Area primarily serves patrons from Lincolnshire, Prairie View, Buffalo Grove, Long Grove, Riverwoods and Vernon Hills, as well as parts of Vernon and Ela townships.
The library has become an increasingly popular destination. More than 313,000 people visited last year, up from less than 301,000 in 2015, library spokeswoman Catherine Savage said. That's an increase of more than 4 percent.
Earlier this year, the library board hired Chicago architecture firm StudioGC to study library operations and come up with facility options.
The firm looked at the library and the annex, which once was the library but now is used for public programs and offices.
The StudioGC team said the library has fewer public meeting rooms and study rooms than other area libraries, Savage said. It also said maintaining two buildings is inefficient, and that the annex is not ideal for public or staff use.
Additionally, the architects said the library parking lot, which is east of the building, and the entrance, which is on the south side, could be improved.
The main building opened in 1993 and underwent a $1.3 million interior renovation in 2013. The annex was built in the 1970s.
Next steps will include gathering ideas from employees and patrons about possible priorities, Savage said.
The StudioGC team also will analyze the space needed for the collection, programs, employees, public seating and study rooms.
Library trustees agreed this week to pay StudioGC $9,800 to proceed with the work. Officials hope to settle on a plan by next spring or summer. A budget hasn't been proposed.
"There are still a great many variables, including gathering public input," Savage said. "Our preliminary ideas about what is needed may change based on the feedback we receive from the community and our stakeholders over the next few months."