The Lisle Library District is in the midst of a comprehensive renovation project scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2023. The Library is operating in the building during the renovation, with collections and services being offered on the east end while construction occurs on the west end. Once the west end renovation is complete, the LLD will operate out of that side while the east is under construction. At completion, the library will offer an improved experience for the community with an expanded youth services and adult fiction area, a new teen space, family restrooms, additional study rooms, a drive-up service window, and an outdoor reading and programming area, among other improvements and updates.
The following are thoughts and takeaways on the process to date by Lisle Library District staff, Elizabeth Hopkins, Director of Adult Services, Paul Hurt, Director of Circulation Services, Laura Murff, Director of Technical Services, and Will Savage, Director of Youth Services:
What do you think the largest benefit to the community will be?
- A better use of space! We have a beautiful location in Lisle; however, there were a lot of inefficiencies in our old building. I think our community will especially appreciate the family restrooms, having staff present right at the main entrance, and the drive-up window. Elizabeth
- In addition to a brand-new lobby where the new Circ. Desk will be located; we will also have a new item sorter for RFID checkins and a convenient outside drive thru for picking up holds. There will be a new, convenient front entrance on the lower floor along with new family restrooms. Paul
- The outside programming area is an exciting addition to the library. Laura
- The main change will be the extra space we have to offer youth patrons. Dedicated play and exploration areas, as well as expanded space for group or private reading will radically change how patrons view and use our department. Will
What has been the most challenging aspect of the remodel for your department to date?
- Adult Services staff took on the extraordinary task of determining which items in our collection would remain at LLD during Phase 1 of construction and which would be temporarily moved to off-site storage. It was a massive undertaking, but we enjoyed the opportunity to view our collection through a different lens. Elizabeth
- At this point, not having programming space has been the difficult aspect of the remodel. Exclusively using parking lot space or local park space has been a challenge, and even that has not been able to remain consistent. Will
What are you most looking forward to upon completion of the project?
- Our community's response! I want to stand at the main entrance and greet every patron who walks in during the first week we fully re-open. I can't wait to see everyone's faces when they take in their new library! Elizabeth
- We are most looking forward to the sense of stability that will come with the new space. Offering consistent programs, activities, and materials to our youngest patrons helps set the habits that create lifelong library users. Will
Is there anything that you’ve learned during the process so far that you’d like to share?
- I would stress the importance of really preparing your staff for big changes before they begin. In the months leading up to the renovation, we all took courses on remaining adaptable during times of change, cultivating mental agility, and de-escalating customer service exchanges. Additionally, I maintained clear communication with staff regarding what to expect throughout this process. Strong communication and expectations are key. Elizabeth
- Having patience is important: Share what we know with patrons and looking forward to the completion of the renovation. Paul
- The need for regular meetings and constant updates is necessary for a smooth transition to a smaller collection and space. Laura
- Be flexible, for both patrons and staff. Keep the relationships that made your library a destination strong, so that you can continue to grow once your project has come to a close. Will