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Rockford Public Library Nearing End Of Envisioning Sessions For Its New Downtown Building

Rockford Public Library

Between 30 and 40 people attended the Rockford Public Library’s 5th Community Envisioning Session held Wednesday at Rockford police Station District #1 to give input on a new main library. The library is looking to move to the next phase of the multi-year project.

Rockford Public Library Executive Director Lynn Stainbrook said most sessions have averaged several dozen attendees, with one more session, in Spanish, scheduled. She said many more people who couldn’t make the sessions have shared their thoughts on the new library via its website.

Stainbrook said a couple of ideas keep showing up.

“One is the desire for connection to the river – more windows, exterior patios,” she said. “The other would be environmental. People are very concerned about energy savings, about sufficiency.”

Stainbrook said people also mentioned things like green roofs, and providing community, educational and recreational opportunities for all ages.  

Credit Guy Stephens/ WNIJ
Rockford Public Library Executive Director Lynn Stainbrook addresses attendees at the May 2 Envisioning Session

Stainbrook said many people also want the new building to be architecturally significant – something unique that they can point to with pride.

Soon, she said, the library will sort through and, with the public’s help, rank the submitted suggestions. That will be part of the next phase.

“The administration, the library board, the architects will be looking at ideas as well,” she said, “and sort of saying, ‘O.K., this is practical, this we could do, this would be fun, this would fit into our budget.”

Stainbrook said the library believes a floor plan can be produced by December.  After that is developed, there will be more preparation, followed by construction. That alone is expected to take around 18 months.

Lynn Stainbrook

Stainbrook said she hopes the new building can be finished in time for the library’s 150th anniversary, in 2022.

Guy Stephens produces news stories for the station, and coordinates our online events calendar, PSAs and Arts Calendar announcements. In each of these ways, Guy helps keep our listening community informed about what's going on, whether on a national or local level. Guy's degrees are in music, and he spent a number of years as a classical host on WNIU. In fact, after nearly 20 years with Northern Public Radio, the best description of his job may be "other duties as required."
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