Algonquin library set for $650K renovation

ALGONQUIN – To improve efficiency within the library’s main branch, the Algonquin Area Public Library District is preparing to begin a $650,000 lobby renovation.

After the 3,050-square-foot project is complete, the lobby will include comfortable seating; a vending machine with snacks, coffee and cold beverages; and a station to charge laptops, mobile phones and other portable devices, according to a news release. The renovation will allow the library to have express check-in and checkout of library materials.

“A new concierge desk will continue [the district’s] long tradition of excellent customer service,” administrative librarian Lynn Elam said in a news release. “We’re elevating our level of human interaction while putting more efficiency in our operation.”

The express check-in and checkout is expected to give the library better flow. Using an automated machine to check in books increases the library’s efficiency, according to a news release.

“Checked-in books, movies and materials will return to shelves more quickly and with greater accuracy,” Elam said.

The renovation is the biggest construction project the main library has undergone since it was opened in 2001.

The renovation is in response to a 2011 survey that indicated people wanted a speedier check-in/checkout process, marketing associate for the library Craig Pierce wrote in an email to the Northwest Herald.

“We also have bright, informed staff who will have more time to work with patrons instead of simply scanning barcodes,” Pierce wrote. “So customer service is the hallmark behind every part of the renovation.”

Another concern with the current lobby layout is the wind tunnel effect created by the double set of doors, Pierce wrote.

“The new layout will minimize the sweep of winter air cutting into the lobby,” Pierce wrote.

The project is scheduled to begin Aug. 12 and be completed by Sept. 30. The library will remain open during the project.

During the project, used books will not be available for sale. Also starting this month, the main branch on Harnish no longer will accept donated materials. The Eastgate branch will serve as the district’s lone dropoff point for donated used materials.

The project is slated to cost $650,000, which will come from the library’s capital reserve fund.

“As stewards of taxpayer money, our goal remains spending humbly while providing richly,” Pierce wrote. “We consistently save money for these kinds of projects, and carefully consider how to tangibly enhance the library experience and services we offer.”

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