State-of-the-art Rockford Library to overlook Rock River


ROCKFORD – Rockford Public Library Board Chairman Paul Logli recalls his first reaction in 2010 to the idea of ​​demolishing the main library branch to allow ComEd to remove soil contamination .

No one destroys libraries, he recalls saying, especially the one that has been at 215 N. Wyman St. since 1903.

But 11 years later, that library was demolished, the underlying soil cleaned of coal tar and environmental contaminants, and Logli joined civic leaders on Wednesday in celebrating the next chapter in the system’s nearly 150-year history. of libraries.

“We look forward to the cutting edge structure that will serve everyone – young and old, rich and poor, longtime residents and newcomers,” said Logli. “We know they will come to know it – to know it in all its forms. Libraries are not just books anymore.”

More news from the library: Rockford Public Library goes mobile with a bespoke van to expand reach

A planned 68,000 square foot library is funded by ComEd, which oversaw the removal of soil contamination for which it had become responsible through a series of business acquisitions. Logli thanked ComEd for “doing the right thing” by removing the contamination and paying for the new library.

Mayor Tom McNamara called the construction of a new library a Pride Day for Rockford.

Logli said it would be a “spectacular presence” overlooking the Rock River.

In addition to books, movies, Chromebook rentals, and other services, it will feature an enhanced local history room and genealogy services. There will be a pick-up and drop-off service, an area for traveling exhibitions and a children’s area with structures for interactive play.

The second floor will feature a quiet reading area with a fireplace overlooking the river, a community room for teens, creative spaces and adult reading collections. And the third floor will include multipurpose rooms for various functions that will open onto outdoor terraces. Outside there will be landscaped space along the river and pollinator gardens designed with help from Severson Dells.

“The books, materials and setting will be second to none in this condition,” said Logli. “As we innovate today, we look forward to the essential services we will provide over the next 150 years. Let’s get started. “

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WATCH: Rockford Public Library breaks new ground in new riverside building

City and County officials, and Rockford Public Library officials inaugurate the new library building on October 20, 2021, at 215 N. Wyman Street.

Scott P. Yates, Rockford Registry Star

Executive Director Lynn Stainbrook said the first groundbreaking came more than a year after its first wait in June 2020 following a longer-than-expected environmental cleanup.

“We all believe in the library in how we make a difference in people’s lives and the education that is involved in it,” Stainbrook said. “I’m so happy to get this building off the ground and to have a new location, a new showcase for what libraries can be in the 21st century.

Jeff Kolkey: [email protected]; @jeffkolkey

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