We know there was a time when you thought the Barrington Area Library’s renovation project was never going to end. I even had residents spot me in restaurants to let me know they were betting we wouldn’t be finished on time! Well, with the exception of a few “punch list” items and the audiovisual equipment set up in the remodeled meeting rooms – we’ve reached the finish line.
It’s been a wild and crazy ride for 14 months, and we’ve been through just about every construction problem HGTV can throw at you on a Saturday afternoon, and we did not have the Property Brothers to help us out. Nevertheless, we’re delighted, reinvigorated, and so pleased to welcome you to the newly “remixed” Barrington Area Library.
365 Barrington already did an awesome write-up on our new Youth Services department when it opened in January. Even five months later, the excitement in the new kids’ area cannot be contained! Designed with active play and learning in mind, this area of the library is being talked about all over the country. We love the blend of old and new: kids can put on a puppet show, try out some costumes, experience a good old Light Bright (a giant Light Bright, mind you), and experiment with an amazing set of large blocks call the Imagination Playground, but, they can also play with iPads, Windows 8 computers, an interactive Digital Pond and Word Wall. Oh yes – they can also check out a book or movie from thousands of choices, enjoy a story time, and curl up in a comfy chair with something great to read. We’ve got it all covered. If you haven’t seen it yet, come over soon, while there’s time to sign up for Summer Library Club.
But we don’t want you to think the renovation is just about new services for children. Another incredible milestone in the renovation was the opening of the new Business & Technology Center on May 28. What will the community find in that new space?
* A computer lab, plus express Internet stations and laptops for checkout.
* A MakerLab and Studio 1, a digital studio similar to our former Media Lab
* A 10-person conference room that can be reserved by BALibrary cardholders
* media:scapes, collaborative spaces where small groups can plug their devices into shared monitors
* Business cubicles for an office-away-from-home space, study alcoves and booths
It may not have a slide, but we’re finding teens and adults are pretty charged up about their new space, too!
Rumors fly around during big public projects like this, and one that I heard several times was that the library was getting rid of its art gallery – not true! I’ve been busy working with two new Gallery in the Library committee members, library employees Sam Adams-Lanham and Ashley Brooke Sero, to bring in some artwork to showcase our new gallery walls. We’re calling this new show “Re-Mastered: the greatest hits of the Gallery in the Library.” It features work from three local artists whose shows were very popular here in the past: Kathleen Eaton, Bruno Vanoudenhove, and Lou Taylor, a local favorite who passed away in 2011. We also have two works apiece by our former Gallery co-curators, Kelly Stachura and Lisa Swarbrick. These talented ladies, both BHS grads, will truly be missed for all the energy, enthusiasm, and creativity they poured into the Gallery since 2006, but their respective art careers are taking them places – literally, all over the world! – and we wish them well in the future.
There are so many wonderful things I could tell you about the renovated library, and pictures I could post of beautiful new spaces, but what I’d really like is for you to come over and see for yourselves. We’re open 7 days a week, of course, and you’re always welcome to stop by and explore. But you’re especially welcome on Sunday, June 22, when the library presents The Remix, our grand reopening celebration! We wanted to throw a party to thank you for your continued support of the library, for your patience through the construction process when it wasn’t always so quiet and pleasant around here, and to give you the opportunity to learn about the improvements we’ve made to this important community asset. Want to know more of the facts and figures about the renovation? Find documentation on the library website.
We’ll kick off the events with a ceremonial ribbon cutting at 1 PM, featuring our Board of Trustees, our Executive Director and department heads, the Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce, and local elected officials. Here are more of the fun activities we have planned for our grand reopening…