CRYSTAL LAKE – Despite years of hurdles including a failed referendum and missing out on a $7.7 million state grant, Crystal Lake Public Library officials are still making progress toward a new facility.
Library officials recently completed a roughly two-year site comparison study that shows the potential positives and negatives of 24 different sites around Crystal Lake for a new library facility.
Options included rebuilding on the current site, renovating the old Wal-Mart on Northwest Highway, building next to the Dole Mansion or being on the west side of Three Oaks Recreation Area near the lake, among others.
The full 228-page report is available at shawurl.com/1amq.
Public Relations Coordinator Linda Price said the locations were viewed with 10 components in mind, including location, size, layout, parking and, perhaps most importantly, adaptability.
As libraries transition from traditional book providers to more encompassing learning centers using more technology, Price said it was crucial the library be in a space where it could change with community needs. It also is in need of more technology support – even basic WiFi is difficult to get at the current location because of all the steel beams used in the construction decades ago.
“We don’t want a building where as we go into the future we’re saying ‘Oops, we made a mistake,’ after 15 years,” Price said. “Adaptability is a very important factor.”
Price said needs assessments have shown the library has needed more space for the past 20 years but it is now also becoming a structural issue. The aging building is on a dormant garbage dump and officials no longer have the option of putting collections in certain areas because the weight of the books would compromise the structure.
Price said it would continue to be a slow and careful process toward a new location.
“When we asked people what they wanted out of the library we found they really liked that it is in a central area and residential area,” she said. “We want to do this in respect to the community.”