Libraries are the centers of their communities. And even in a political year noted for its partisan rifts, voters in several communities are agreed on the need for libraries.
A recent example of this was the overwhelming passage of referendum to modernize and expand the Broadview (Ill.) Public Library.
Earlier this month, four out of five voters cast their votes in favor.
Library Executive Director Melissa Gardner said “We are overwhelmed by the positive support for the referendum and would like to thank all of the residents for sharing our vision.”
Library Board President Michael Wideman said, "This referendum was not about economics but about leaving a legacy in our community.”
The library and architects have put together a plan to revamp the library based on the wishes of residents, whose input was sought by the library board.
“In the current facility we are limited and many of the facility’s systems are failing. It is very difficult for us to add things like computers. We want to expand our programs and services but we are not able to so,” Gardner said.
In addition to the $4.1 million in bonds approved by the taxpayers, the library will be sinking $2.5 million of reserves into the project.
How much does that cost the average resident? The average resident with a home valued at $150,000 will pay only less than $60 a year in extra taxes.
In return, users will get a 21,300 sq. ft. of state-of-the-art library space that is ADA accessible and offers such state-of-the-art technology as smart boards, self-checkout and an updated computer lab, as well as a dedicated teen space and media creation lab. There will be free 24 hour AV access similar to “Redbox” and study and meeting rooms for a multitude of uses.
Katrina Arnold, Chair of the Library Facilities Committee says “The goal of the board is for residents of Broadview to walk out their back door to their own state-of-the-art Library and not have to travel to other communities for library service.”