Federal money will enable South Elgin branch of Gail Borden Library to triple its space

The South Elgin branch of the Gail Borden Library plans to triple its space after receiving nearly $2.4 million in federal funding.

The branch, located at 127 S. McLean Blvd., opened in July 2016 after the library district bought the 12,466-square-foot building. But because of a lack of funding, only about a third of the available space was developed.

Last year, a needs assessment recommended an expansion of the branch because of a boom in residential construction in the area. The location saw about 50,000 visitors a year before the pandemic.

Denise Raleigh, the library district's division chief for public relations and development, said $2,391,407 was acquired through the advocacy of U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Schaumburg Democrat.

"We are thrilled to be on a much faster track for the South Elgin expansion," Raleigh said. "Getting this earmark from the congressman allows us to move forward with this needed expansion much more quickly."

The plan is to add roughly 8,000 square feet of space. It will include a new children's area, more study and meeting rooms, more collection space, an activity room, and more staff space.

Stacy Rausch, director of branch library services, said the additional space is much needed, especially with the children's area.

"We definitely have a lot of young families that come in, and we do a lot of children's programming," she said. "So we just need more space to accommodate that."

The expanded children's area will feature a larger collection of materials, an imagination area, a help desk, a wellness room for nursing mothers and a "baby garden" area where babies can crawl around and explore.

"This is a great opportunity for us to meet the community need, and we're excited for them to be able to enjoy the space," Rausch said.

The branch also will expand its staff and its hours of operation.

Raleigh said plans already have been drawn up because officials were seeking funding. Bids will go out soon.

  Stacy Rausch, director of branch library services for the Gail Borden Library, shows off some of the space the South Elgin branch will use for expansion. Rick West/
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