On Saturday, you can check out the upgrade to Palatine's library
Visitors of the main library in Palatine need not fret if they spot ladders and construction tape in the lobby Saturday, when the community is invited to check out the progress of a 10-month renovation project.
The renovation of the first floor is nearly finished, and the magic is in full display just beyond the lobby.
There is an expansive new "marketplace" area for new and popular titles for books, movies and music; a new, modern teen space area; an updated children's area; and the crown jewel, a new, 4,600-square-foot makerspace called "the workshop" decked out with impressive machinery such as a laser cutter, 3D printer, sewing and embroidery machines, a heat press, a 42-inch printer and more.
"We're so excited to see what our members do in this space," said Susan Conner, technology manager. "We expect to see crafters and artists making beautiful things, entrepreneurs creating prototypes and marketing materials, and anyone in between who wants to learn new skills or simply explore."
The library's second floor will have more study rooms, a larger quiet room and more, and will remain closed likely through the end of the month. The renovation is expected to be done by October, said Andrea Lublink, communications and marketing manager for the Palatine Public Library District.
The price tag is $6.3 million for the main library, plus another $500,000 for upgrades at the library branches in Hoffman Estates and Palatine. The project got the OK from voters in a 2019 referendum and includes a $1.8 million grant from the Illinois State Library and Secretary of State's Office.
"All of the new features in this renovation come from the feedback we received from the community during our last community survey and strategic planning process," Executive Director Jeannie Dilger said.
For example, teens wanted to have their own space, Lublink said. The new teen area, with a grey-and-lime color scheme, has study tables, comfortable seating for hanging out, and a gaming station. Another gaming station in the youth area serves children and tweens.
The children's area has new story rooms, bright colors and lighting, new furniture, and a nursing room. The children's books are all "face out" to be more inviting, Lublink said.
The vending machines -- offering coffee, soda, chips, candy and healthier options -- will move from the second to the first floor. The machines haven't arrived yet due to high demand after COVID-19 closures, Lublink said.
A new entrance was built on the north side of the building for more convenient access from the east and west parking lots. The paved paths to the new entrance have a "snow melt" system for wintry days, Lublink said.
The workshop area is designed to please patrons who enjoy crafting and those who like to work with heavy duty industrial equipment, Conner said. Patrons will be able to do things like cut glass, etch design, screen print T-shirts, print banners, learn to use Arduino microcontroller boards, and much more.
Patrons will be charged nominal amounts for materials they use, such as 1 cent per gram of weight when they print items in 3D.
The workshop also has study rooms, and audio and video recording studios where you can do things like transfer VHS tapes to DVD.