Record fundraising pays off for North Chicago libraryYadira Sanchez Olson
In the midst of a record-breaking year of fundraising, the North Chicago Public Library on Saturday celebrated several improvements to the Argonne Drive facility.
“So far we’ve received over $10,000 for programming and the enhancement of the library,” library director Joan Battley said during a ribbon-cutting event that unveiled a media dropbox installed on a sidewalk in the library’s parking lot.
Books, CDs and DVDs can be deposited into the metal receptacle during the library’s off hours.
“This helps our library-users avoid having to pay fines,” said Library Board member Vance Wyatt, adding that patrons previously expressed a desire to be able to make media returns on Sundays.
The box also provides an easier way for people with disabilities to return rentals, library officials said. The library already had an outside book slot for returns, but it doesn’t accept the other library materials.
North Chicago Mayor Leon Rockingham, Jr. called the new dropbox another indication that the city and library are moving forward.
“The media box is one of the many dreams that is coming into fruition,” Battley added.
More additions and renovations are underway thanks to fundraising and organizational efforts spearheaded by the Library Board and Friends of the Library members. Battley said both groups have been chipping away at the projects defined in the library’s 2013 strategic plan.
Marie Worth, a lifelong North Chicago resident who served 23 years on the Library Board, was an honored guest at the weekend ceremony.
“The library is a wonderful place that has everything for everyone,” she said.
At 85 years old, Worth said she still visits the library regularly to pick up the books that keep her entertained. She also said she enjoys seeing the children’s space busy with kids who are learning while having fun.
Worth said she’s looking forward to more positive changes that will benefit the library’s 32,500 patrons.
The replacement of the 25-year-old building’s malfunctioning heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system in September was the first sizable step toward taking the library “to the next level,” Battley said.
A community room for library programs and group meetings is currently being renovated, too.
With a new paint job, carpeting and furniture, as well as a PowerPoint projector, the room is expected to be ready in June.
Three monitors that will display the library’s news and program schedules are also scheduled to be installed.
“This is all a team effort,” said board member Zera Dickerson, who acts a liaison between the board and the Friends of the Library. “Little by little we’re making this a more beautiful space for our children and families to come to.”
The $4,000 cost of the media dropbox was split by the Friends of the Library and the Library Board.