Krishnamoorthi helps kick off expansion at South Elgin library

Donning a bright yellow novelty hard-hat, U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi used a ceremonial hammer to "knock down" a wall inside the South Elgin Branch of the Gail Borden Library Monday, kicking off its upcoming expansion.

Krishnamoorthi helped secure nearly $2.4 million in funding from the federal omnibus package in December to help pay for the expansion of the library at 127 S. McLean Blvd.

Speaking to about 75 people at the ceremony, Krishnamoorthi paraphrased a quote saying that "libraries are the door to the future - enter and become part of what's inside."

"So what you folks are doing here today is allowing for more people to enter those proverbial doors and more people to be part of what's inside," Krishnamoorthi said. "Access to knowledge, access to progress and access to upliftment of our entire society."

The library will use the money to triple its space, adding 8,000 square feet that will include a new children's area, more study and meeting rooms, additional collection space, an activity room and extra space for staff.

Gail Borden Library District CEO Carole Medal said it's the first time the district has received federal funding for building or expanding one of its three facilities.

"This is part of our library district, but this is South Elgin's library," Medal said. "It's very important to the community and we're going to make sure we do this right for them."

The branch opened in July 2016 after the library district bought the 12,466-square-foot building. Due to a lack of funding at the time, only about a third of the available space was developed.

Building plans for the expansion are complete and construction is expected to take six to seven months once it begins.

Jean Bednar, president of the Gail Borden Library board of trustees, said development in South Elgin warranted a bigger library.

"As the community grows, it is important that library services grow here as well to support people of all ages," she said. "This plan will bring many more library enhancements to the community."

Behind the prop wall that Krishnamoorthi pushed aside with his hammer were several local kids with books, sitting in what will soon be an updated children's area.

"Those kids are the reason why we're here," said Krishnamoorthi, a Democrat from Schaumburg. "Any society that invests in its kids is investing in their future, and we're investing in our future."

  Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi visited the South Elgin branch of the Gail Borden Library Monday to help kick off its upcoming expansion. Rick West/
  Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi and other officials helped kick off the expansion of the Gail Borden Public Library District's South Elgin Branch Monday. Rick West/
  Stacy Rausch, director of branch library services for the Gail Borden Library, shows off some of the empty space which will be developed as part of the South Elgin branch's expansion. Rick West/, January 2023
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