Library Renovation and
July 22, 2015
Needs: The Transformation of the Wauconda Area Library from Old to Wow!
Contact: Tom Kern
Library Director, Wauconda Area Library
The Wauconda Area Library has
been completely transformed by its recent $2 million renovation and remodeling
of its interior. The most common
reaction when new patrons enter the library for the first time is “Wow!”
The most common reaction from patrons who remember the pre-renovation
library is “Wow – what a difference!”
The “wow factor” was the driving force behind the design and planning of
this renovation, and the library has achieved this with some impressive results.
Patron count has been up 20 to 40 percent each month
since the project ended in late March.
The previous downward trend in circulation of library materials in recent
years has been reversed. The
library’s DVD and Blu-ray collections are particularly popular because of bright
new shelving and more convenient location.
In June alone, 23,362 movies were checked out – 48 percent more than in
June of 2014. Books are making a comeback
as well, though not so dramatically.
The project began on schedule and from beginning to end
it took about one year to complete.
The work was done in three phases, enabling the library to remain open to the
public through most of the project.
Actual construction began in November, 2014, and was completed in March, 2015
but the library is not expected to be back up to full speed until mid-August
when its fall programming season starts.
When asked about the
outcome of the renovation, Library Director Tom Kern replied, “This library now
has so much more to offer than materials, programs, and computers.
While the library is still the best place to go to borrow books, DVDs and
CDs, this is no longer the primary focus because it is no longer considered the
primary need - at least not exclusively, as in ‘the old days.’
The library is now a dynamic community center for everyone - no matter
what your age or background - for learning, discovery, collaboration,
communication, creativity, enrichment, or for just plain fun.
It is a place of infinite possibilities.
As our slogan says – ‘Start here. Go anywhere.’”
The library paid for
the renovation using its special reserve funds, a large grant from the State of
Illinois, and a low-interest ten-year loan.
The library titled its application for the construction grant “Meeting
New Needs.” This may have been and
understatement, but it sums up the overall impact of the renovation.
Kern noted that in retrospect, the library could have more accurately
titled the project “Meeting New Needs: The Transformation of the Wauconda Area
Library from Old to Wow!“
In addition to
revitalizing the facility with new more dynamic design and use of light and
color, the renovation has resulted in dozens of important new features:
Improved customer experience, as staff members are much more accessible
attractive, more efficient service desks designed to break down barriers and
improve the customer experience
Call Center that handles all incoming calls, answering questions immediately
and enabling service desk staff to focus on their customers
Easier access to library materials because of brighter, more attractive and
inviting display furnishings
seating throughout the library that is more comfortable and well suited for
Improved community meeting room – new AV system and control center
multi-purpose high-tech classroom equipped with iMacs
new small meeting rooms equipped with large white boards and 60-inch HDTV
periodicals display that provides user-friendly access to current and back
Improved self-serve café with high-capacity K-Cup vending and brewing
reading room with a gas-fueled contemporary stone fireplace
public computer spaces more effectively situated within sight lines of
Updated printing/copying center – scan to email or UDB drive for free!
Children's Area (Kid City)
inspiring and interactive displays available only at the library
giant interactive TouchIT LED display as kids enter Kid City, akin to a
7-foot tablet. Wauconda Area
Library was the first public library in Illinois to get one of these.
airplane-themed preschooler play space with slide, controls, and virtual
HDTV airplane “windows”
8-foot 630-hole Light-Brite with 396 large attractive colored acrylic rods
Crank-powered paper airplane launcher
Kid-friendly interactive supermarket with crank-powered conveyor belt for
Attractive user-friendly maker space – available at all times – equipped
with sink and more
gaming space with Wii, Game Box, and PlayStation 4
kid-friendly computers, iPads and other educational technology
improved service desk with improved sight lines throughout the area
Area (The Lounge)
maker space for teens
Large, open teen-friendly space
furnishings and layout designed for social networking – online or in person
Another 7-foot interactive TouchIT LED display, funded by the Friends of the
gaming/collaboration space ready for addition of Wii, Game Box, and
digital media production lab downstairs with state-of-the-art equipment and
software designed for creating a wide variety of digital multi-media
The Lounge is adult-friendly, as well – especially
during school hours
END OF PRESS RELEASE