By Alexandria Williams
Local Albany Park Library announces doors are closing for construction June 9 after 49 years of service to the community, leaving the community without a library for two years. Construction is estimated to cost around 15 million.
Albany Park Residents were thrown for a loop last spring after finding out their library located on the corner of Foster and Kedzie would be closing. They found a notice on the front window proclaiming that the library would close for construction purposes. This came as a total surprise to the residents, who wondered how a library that does not have the funds to stay open late on evenings or weekends when the residents use it most can afford to be demolished to build a new one in the same spot.
Many of the workers are now out of a job. Mayor Emanuel requested funds for this project last fall and the City Council approved. Regular library users were unaware of the finalized decision as the closing date was approaching. Neighbors gained knowledge of this operation and quickly began a petition receiving 200 signatures wanting more information and for the community to have input. Online reviews from EveryBlock and Albany Park Mom stated, “Yep. It’s temporary. But, the timing could have been better.”
Ald. Margaret Laurino held a public meeting May 24. Attending the meeting were Brian Bannon of the Chicago Public Library commission and Erin Cabonargi, the city’s public building commission director. They presented their plans. Bannon told the crowd at a meeting, “we have a big vision here.” The new facility will be bigger. After the second meeting, the committee to save the Albany Park Library had another 700 signatures demanding to keep the library in-service.
The new Albany Park Library is scheduled to open in the summer of 2014. Albany Park residents can register to use the library facility at Northeastern Illinois Library by September 1. Programs are also offered at North Park University and the Albany Park Community Center for the library users.
Chicago Public Library