96. “Books & Beyond”: Your Library, Under Construction

Home Newsroom 96. “Books & Beyond”: Your Library, Under Construction

We’re thrilled to announce a new partnership with the Barrington Area Library here at 365Barrington.com.  Starting today, we’ll be sharing a series of regular posts written by four guest writers from the library about great books, authors, technology, library resources, news and events and we are so excited!  We’re calling the series Books & Beyond because the library is our local, one-stop-shop, for literature, music, videos, media resources and so much more.

Books & Beyond at the Barrington Area Library
Books & Beyond at the Barrington Area Library

Our contributors from the library include Adult Services librarian, Liz Kirchhoff, Head of Youth Services, Ryann Uden, Public Information Manager, Karen McBride and Adult Services Librarian, Lizzy Kinnert.

Books & Beyond at the Barrington Area Library - Photographed by Julie Linnekin
Adult Services librarian, Liz Kirchhoff, Head of Youth Services, Ryann Uden, Public Information Manager, Karen McBride & Adult Services Librarian, Lizzy Kinnert – Photographed by Julie Linnekin

The author of our first Books & Beyond post is Public Information Officer, Karen McBride, the woman behind the newsletters and social media messages we regularly receive from the library.

Barrington Area Library Public Information Officer, Karen McBride
Barrington Area Library Public Information Officer, Karen McBride – Photographed by Julie Linnekin

If there’s anyone who can share the latest about the renovations currently underway at the library, it’s Karen!  And here’s her take on the status of the renovation and answers to some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) she’s getting from library patrons.

Your Library, Under Construction

by Karen McBride, Barrington Area Library Public Information Officer

If you’ve ever planned a home remodeling project, or even spent an afternoon mesmerized by an HGTV marathon, you know how challenging even a little fixer-upper can be. Imagine renovating a 35-year-old, 60,000 square foot space that is open to the public almost 365 days a year.  A LOT of public: around 30,000 visitors every month! Oh, and within that space are 200,000 books, DVDs and CDs. After several years of meetings to plan and consider every detail, construction recently started at the Barrington Area Library, with a proposed finish date (fingers crossed) of summer, 2014.

Construction Underway at the Barrington Area Library- Courtesy of the Barrington Area Library
Construction Underway at the Barrington Area Library – Courtesy of Karen McBride

And oh, the details! The project has been broken up into four phases, so huge sections of the library will be moved around while other areas undergo construction. The library Web site (balibrary.org) is the best place to find info on the project as a whole, but I thought I’d use this first post on 365 Barrington to answer some FAQs – frequently asked questions – that we’ve been hearing from our library guests.

Are you getting rid of your books?

People started seeing empty shelves a few weeks ago and began to panic! “Are you getting rid of your books?” No worries there.  We love books just as much as you do, and the renovated library is going to have LOTS of them.

Barrington Area Library Shelving - Courtesy of the Barrington Area Library
Barrington Area Library Shelving – Courtesy of Karen McBride

You can catch a glimpse of that in many of the renderings provided by Engberg Anderson, the architecture team heading up the project.  We did “weed out” some books that were obsolete, damaged or simply not as popular as they once were, but that’s standard operating procedure at libraries. We all have limited space, so we have to make room for those new titles everyone is talking about.

Barrington Area Library - New Shelving Rendering
Barrington Area Library – New Shelving Rendering by Engberg Anderson Architects

What will happen to the piano? 

People have been asking about furnishings and other familiar items: “What will happen to the piano? Can you hold aside any old furnishings for me?” The much-loved piano, which has starred in many a recital for our local children, has gone into safe storage with a company that specializes in pianos. It will be return when the dust settles.

Moving the Piano at the Barrington Area Library - Courtesy of Karen McBride
Moving the Piano at the Barrington Area Library – Courtesy of Karen McBride

Some furniture has been stored or re-purposed in different parts of the library. Some items are just too worn out to be useful to us anymore. We saved tons of money (seriously – $100-200k) by granting the bid for removal of these items to a company that works very hard to salvage and recycle everything it can. We feel good that we spent less and are being as environmentally friendly as possible.

Every day, something unusual is happening around here – like watching the professional movers lift entire shelving units and transport them from one end of the building to another! Just recently, to make room for construction, all DVDs and new books (adults and kids) were moved into the first floor meeting room.

Moving the DVD's at the Barrington Area Library - Courtesy of Karen McBride
Moving the DVD’s at the Barrington Area Library – Courtesy of Karen McBride

You’ll also find kids’ award-winning books and “graphic novels” – no, those aren’t racy books – they’re illustrated novels that read like comic books and are super-popular. Now you know why we aren’t able to let groups reserve those meeting rooms during the renovation – we’ll be using them for our own collections, at least for a while.

Meeting Room DVD's at the Barrington Area Library - Courtesy of Karen McBride
Meeting Room DVD’s at the Barrington Area Library – Courtesy of Karen McBride

What about the public meeting rooms?

To answer another question I got from a patron, “So the library is getting rid of public meeting rooms?” No – in fact, the meeting rooms will be improved and refurnished during the project. We know how popular the rooms are and how many clubs and organizations rely on them for meetings. We just need a little time to bring them up to speed.

Library Under Contruction - Photographed by Julie Linnekin
Library Under Contruction – Photographed by Julie Linnekin

So, lots of changes, lots of activity around the library right now – in fact, the fire alarms went off while I was in the middle of this post! We know it’s a little disorganized and noisy here now that construction has started. We’re thankful for your support and patience, and when you’re here, just ask us for help. I’ll post more of your FAQs in the coming weeks here on 365 Barrington.

Karen McBride - Photographed by Julie Linnekin
Karen McBride – Photographed by Julie Linnekin

About the Author

Karen McBride is the Public Information Manager for the Barrington Area Library.

She’s also a professional singer, lending her talents to St. Anne Catholic Community in Barrington and her rock band of more than 20 years, Synod.

If she’s reading, it’s a glossy magazine or a rock star biography, but she’s just as likely to be walking in Cuba Marsh or wasting too much time on Facebook.

To follow Karen’s library updates on Facebook, visit their page at Facebook.com/BALibrary and to keep up with the very latest on the renovation and other exciting library news, visit their website at BALibrary.org.

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