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Bloomington library launches public phase of capital campaign to cover the final pieces of renovation

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WGLT file photo
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The Bloomington Public Library's planned $25.2 million renovation is scheduled to be completed by September 2023.

The Bloomington Public Library is using National Library Giving Day on Wednesday to help raise money for the final pieces of a planned $25.2 million expansion.

The city council has approved most of the funding for the project and on March 28 it approved plans to issue bonds to cover its $14.2 million share of the project. The rest comes from the library's cash reserves ($4.1 million) and a state grant ($5.7 million).

Library director Jeanne Hamilton said she's glad to see the library finally reach the construction phase, after more than a decade of starts and stops.

“We are thrilled for what this means for the community, the expanded library services we will be able to provide, and meet those current and emerging needs,” Hamilton said.

The library has hired Felmley-Dickerson of Bloomington to handle construction. It will be done in two phases. The first, scheduled to last until May 2023, will involve renovating the west side of the library and adding 21,000 square feet. The second phase will include renovating the east side of the building. That portion is expected to be finished four months later.

The renovations will include new meeting spaces, additional study rooms, a new computer lab, two recording studios and a drive-up window.

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Bloomington Public Library
Jeanne Hamilton

Hamilton said the new design will include plenty of open and adaptive space so it can shift to meet the community's needs and emerging technologies.

“Let’s say people want more meeting spaces, then being able to put new furniture there and be able to respond to the new trends that we see,” she said.

Hamilton said the library plans to remain open throughout construction, though parking will be limited. She said the library is working with partner organizations to hold some programming offsite during construction.

The library has launched the public phase of its fundraising campaign to cover the final pieces of the major renovation. Hamilton said that funding will cover parts of the renovation that could be added as funding become available. The campaign has raised about $650,000, more than halfway toward its $1.25 million goal.

“A lot of that will be focused on soft costs or furniture, so things that maybe (we) will have to wait to furnish some of the building if we aren’t able to fund raise this remaining portion,” Hamilton said.

This will be the library's second expansion since it opened in 1976. The city’s population has nearly doubled since then.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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