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2016 Building & Expansion Planning

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Proposed Plan on March 15, 2016 Ballot

The proposed plan to build a 72,000 sq ft library on the expanded downtown site to serve the 21st century library needs of the 75,337 residents of the library district will appear as two questions on the March 15, 2016 ballot. One question is on the $39 million 20 year building bonds that will fund the land acquisition, construction of the building and its equipping and furnishing. The second question is on a limiting tax rate increase to fund operations of the larger facility and 21st century library services, including job skills development programs, early literacy support, technology training, elimination of fines and addition of Sunday hours year round. Following successful referendum, the process for finalizing the design of the building will include more opportunities for public input. The Library would continue to operate in its current facility until completion of the new building. Renderings of the proposed building exterior, the site plan and general floor plans are available below. The Schematic Building Program offers more detail on what will be contained within the general floor plans. A series of three brief videos linked below introduce the project, focus on the investment in the community and show the ballot questions. For dates, times and locations of informational sessions and attendance of library representatives at community events where you can get your questions answered, see the timeline link at the top of this page.

Presentation – December Library Board Meetings

At a Special Board Meeting in early December, the Library Board of Trustees reviewed final drafts of the cost estimates, financing plan, and exterior elevations. Guided by feedback from a meeting with Village staff, all agreed windows would be added to the west elevation to bring more “life” to the Illinois Street side of the building. The south elevation shown in the Nagle Hartray presentation is incorrect – the cornice line of decorative brick has been added but the arched brick pattern behind the Plainfield Public Library District name will be removed in the elevations and renderings for the December 16 meeting. It was noted that the final design process, including final exterior elevations, begins after successful referendum and includes additional opportunities for public participation. On December 16, Nagle Hartray presented draft elevations with the updates from the previous meeting. An updated video of the draft elevations was also viewed. The Library Board of Trustees voted unanimously approved the ordinances to place the building bond and limiting rate questions on the March 15, 2016 ballot.

Presentation – November Library Board Meeting

The Schematic Building Program, detailing the functional areas for the proposed building, was finalized. This document provides the detail for the floor plans, which show only aggregate space by department. At the November Board meeting, attorney Ken Florey from Robbin-Schwartz made a presentation of the Do’s and Don’ts of an Informational Campaign for the Board. The latest draft of the exterior elevations, featuring brick in an arch pattern with stone detailing, were presented and discussed at length. Nagle Hartray was instructed to continue refining the exterior concept based on the feedback from the meeting. A proposal for a 3D model of the site and building was approved. A breakdown of the proposed target increase was discussed. Cost estimating will continue into December. A Special Board Meeting to review the proposed plan including cost was set for Thursday, December 3 at 7:00pm in the Storytime Room, since both the Large and Small Meeting Rooms are booked with other events.

Presentation – October Library Board Meeting

The presentation made by Nagle Hartray Architects on October 8 was very similar to that shown to the Board of Trustees in September. Some architectural details of the downtown area were added to the presentation. The public meeting participants were unanimous in support of the exterior elevation concept presented. At the October Board meeting, Tod Stanton of Public Research Group presented final report of the telephone survey results. Nagle Hartray discussed the results of the public meeting and received further feedback from the Board of Trustees for refining the exterior concept. Deliverables for use in an informational campaign leading up to a March 2016 referendum were discussed. Next steps in the planning process are formal cost estimating, development of the financing package and preparing the final form of the ballot questions.

Presentation – September Library Board Meeting

A telephone survey of likely voters was completed in September. A preliminary report from Public Research Group was made. The full report will be available in late September. The same questions used in this random-sample survey of 300 voters were available in an online version via the Building & Expansion Planning web page. Nagle Hartray Architects presented new exterior elevations, based on Trustee feedback from the August Board Meeting. No additional public meetings were held in September. Following the presentation, the Board of Trustees instructed Nagle Hartray to refine exterior elevations with additional feedback from the public on October 8. Options for ballot questions were discussed, with a summary presented. The Board of Trustees decided to proceed with financial planning for two separate ballot questions – building bonds and operating rate. The total target increase if both questions pass remains $15 per month or less for the average homeowner.

Summary of Feedback Presentation – August Library Board Meeting

Nagle Hartray Architects presentation to the Library Board of Trustees, summarizing the feedback received from the third set of Citizens Task Force and public meetings. Discussion of floor plan, site plan and preliminary exterior elevations. The 21st Century Library presentation was only shown during the public meetings. Following the presentation, the Board of Trustees determined that Nagle Hartray should continue refining exterior options and cost estimating. A telephone poll of likely voters will proceed in late August – early September.

Summary of Feedback Presentation – July Library Board Meeting

Nagle Hartray Architects presentation to the Library Board of Trustees, summarizing the feedback received from the second set of Citizens Task Force and public meetings. Discussion of cost for renovation vs. new construction is summarized on the final page. The Library building history and tax impact presentation was also shown. Following the presentations, the Board of Trustees determined that Nagle Hartray should continue exploring further development of New Construction Concept 2.

Summary of Feedback Presentation – June Library Board Meeting

Nagle Hartray Architects presentation to the Library Board of Trustees, summarizing the feedback received from the Citizens Task Force and public meeting. Following the presentation, the Library Board of Trustees eliminated greenfield site concept and made suggestions for further development of existing site concepts, focusing on options 1, 2 and 5.

Public Meetings Presentation – June 2015

Nagle Hartray Architects presentation to Citizens Task Force and public meeting in June, outlining three concepts: greenfield (open, undeveloped) site, current site retaining existing building and current site eliminating existing building, including options for each concept. Overwhelming consensus of feedback received supported the Library remaining in the downtown.

Concepts Review – May 2015

Nagle Hartray Architects presentation of preliminary concepts to Library Board of Trustees at their May meeting.Trustees suggested an additional configuration of L-shaped building for existing site options and approved the concepts for further development prior to June public presentations.

Open House Report

Preliminary feedback from the community prioritizing 21st century library services and space, gathered at four open house session in April 2015. Attendees each voted for three types of services/spaces they wanted in an expanded Library. The top five identified were: Performance space (auditorium), Early Literacy space, Digital Studios, Study Rooms and Quiet space.

Library Expansion Background Information

1990 was a memorable year in Plainfield. Plainfield voters passed the only tax increase in the history of the Library to expand the 1940 building from 2,700 to 27,000 square feet. The Library building addition was the first construction to begin after the 1990 tornado and opened its doors in 1991.

When construction on the Library began, the official Library district population was 14,123, with 5 schools in Plainfield School District 202. Today, the Library serves 75,337 with 30 schools in Plainfield School District 202. Over 60,000 more people are being served by the same 27,000 square foot Library. When the Library opened, it offered 2 word processing computers and typewriters for public use and collections included cassette tapes and VHS. Modern email did not exist. Today, more than 30 public computers are used for more than 24,000 hours of public computing sessions annually. Formats include DVD, BluRay, MP3, downloadable books and audiobooks, streaming music and video, ereaders, rokus, etc. The Library has over 209,000 items in its collection today, possible only due to virtual rather than physical items.

“Why do we need libraries when we have the Internet?” The internet cannot provide the personalized help and hands-on instruction of the 21st century Library. In 1991, 2,236 reference questions were asked and answered at the Library. In 2015, it was more than 56,000, over 25 times the number asked in 1990. Today’s questions are more complex because the easy answers are readily available. Complex questions, help with devices and teaching new technology skills comprise answers to today’s questions at the Library.

Classes and programs are a huge part of 21st century public library service. 1993 was the first year the Library kept program attendance statistics – with 2,214 attending programs that were only for children. In 2015, over 50,000 attended a library program, spanning all ages. That’s 22 times more people attending programs in 2015.

With 5 times more people in the Library district, doing 22 and 25 times the business in core services, the Library’s revenue has not increased that amount. In 1990, the Library district’s median home value of $100,000 paid $103 in property taxes to the Library, for $30.17 per capita. Today’s median home value of $300,000 paid $192.89 in property taxes, for $44.93 per capita. Adjusting for inflation, 1990 per capita revenue is $51.99 in today’s dollars. With more services and devices and formats in demand than ever before, per capita purchasing power has declined.

In 2015, the average Plainfield Public Library resident checked out more than 8 items, attended a library program, used a public computer for an average session of 43 minutes and asked a question. That is $256.87 in value for materials and services received for the $44.93 per capita investment in the Library.

Serving Our Public 3.0: Standards for Illinois Public Libraries sets 4 levels of standards: Minimum, Growing, Established and Advanced. Today, the Plainfield Public Library is below the Minimum standard for Staffing, Hours of Service and Facility Size. It is between Minimum and Growing for Collection Size.


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