EPL: The Next Chapter | Library Renovation

Published Friday, March 12, 2021

The Edwardsville Public Library is excited to announce the renovation and modernization of the interior of our historic library, “EPL – The Next Chapter”. The library building was originally dedicated in 1906, with additions in 1953 and 1991. The focus of the renovation is to provide the Edwardsville community with updated library spaces and improved access to library resources. The improvements planned have been considered carefully and will not damage the historical architecture of our Carnegie library.

What changes will be made?

The approved renovation plan includes the following:

  • A complete renovation of all restrooms and the addition of a gender-neutral/family restroom on the lower level.
  • The adult circulation area and bookstore will have complete makeovers, which will give patrons flexible seating space with laptop bars, a self-service area with a self-checkout machine, and self-serve holds pickup. Our circulation desks will still be fully staffed in case you prefer our friendly staff to assist you. These changes will also have the added benefit of improving sightlines (for safety) and easing some staff crowding.
  • Four quiet study rooms will be added to the north wall of the adult library.
  • The adult computer lab will be re-organized with staff desks on the north wall and a rectangular 8-person station with 18-inch privacy screens between users.
  • The youth computer lab and the storage room next door will become our new Teen Room. The new room will house our teen collection and modular furniture so kids can study and interact with each other. This will free up collection space in the youth library that will give us more room for materials and/or creative play areas in the youth library.
  • The youth circulation desk will be remodeled and a small workroom for staff will be added.
  • Our patio will be redone and fenced in to give the youth library more usable space. We expect this to turn into a fun area for activities or just relaxing and reading a book.
Architect's Plan

How much will the renovation cost?

The estimated cost for the entire project is $750,000 (including contingencies, new furniture, and exterior signage).

How will the Library pay for the project?

The complete project will be funded from our special reserve fund, which is money we have slowly saved over many years to pay for these types of improvements. This project will not be funded by an increase in your taxes. In fact, you will see a decrease in your tax dollars going to the library this year, because the library board voted to keep the amount of our tax levy flat due to the hardship COVID has brought to our community.

How long will construction take?

We anticipate that the renovation will be completed by fall of 2021. Once we have plans finalized, we will be better able to estimate the project timeline. Check our website and our social media to keep up to date on our next steps.

Will the Library be open during construction?

We plan to remain open throughout construction, unless it becomes an issue of public/staff safety or access. There will be times where the front entrance will not be available, because this is one of the areas being renovated. If we have to close temporarily, we would still offer curbside service, and we will be sure to communicate that with as much advance notice as possible through our phone message, website, social media and signage.

How did you gather community input?

As part of the strategic planning process in 2018, the Library conducted a community survey. Cardholders indicated they would like to have spaces for library programs and for individuals to work quietly, both independently and collaboratively, as well as cozy spaces to read and more self-service options. We have also listened to what our patrons mention to staff when they visit the library.

How can I learn more about this?

You can receive updates by checking the EPL: The Next Chapter section on the homepage of our website, edwardsvillelibrary.org, or by following us on Facebook and Instagram. If you have further questions, please contact me.

Jill Schardt
Edwardsville Public Library
618-692-7556 ext. 8

About the Author

Jill is the Director of the Edwardsville Public Library. She worked as a CPA for 15 years before moving to Edwardsville and joining the library in 2013.