Have you had studies done?

Yes. In 2002, library building consultant Anders Dahlgren estimated that a new library for DeKalb would need to be about 60,000 square feet.

In 2005, Frye Gillan Molinaro Architects explored the possibility of expanding the current library without purchasing additional land, and found no feasible way to do so.

In 2007, the architectural firm of Burnidge Cassell and Associates (BCA) examined a group of small lots two streets over from the library and determined that these could not be effectively used.

In 2008, BCA verified that a 60,000 square foot library with necessary parking could be fitted to a single city block in downtown DeKalb.

In 2009, library building consultant Fred Schlipf prepared the Building Program for the DeKalb Public Library. The Program is based on the findings of earlier studies that the only option remaining to the City is the construction of a new library building.

Why can't you rearrange what you have?

We are currently packed into our existing space as tightly as we can be. Adding more shelf space means taking away seating areas for patrons. Adding more seating areas means losing shelf space, which is already in short supply. Every new book that we acquire means an existing book has to be relegated to storage.

Can you cut the project down?

We already have. The original recommendation by Fred Schlipf, based on the requirements and standards of library service set forth by the Illinois Library Association, was that the library be a total of 90,000 square feet in order to fully meet the needs of the city and its residents. That project has been scaled back to the current plan of 67,000 total square feet in order to fit in the space requirements of the land we have purchased.

Have you had public input sessions?

Yes. Six public input sessions were held to determine the greatest needs for a new/expanded facility. One of the most frequent topics discussed was the need for more and larger public meeting rooms that could be used by the community.

What is the total cost?

The current project estimate is $25.3 million.

Can I make a donation of stocks and/or bonds?
Absolutely. To donate stocks and/or bonds to the DeKalb Public Library Expansion Fund, click here to contact Dee Coover via email, or call her at (815) 756-9568 ext. 240. Dee will put you in contact with the appropriate financial personnel to guide you through the donation process.
Why are libraries so expensive?

Libraries must be built to handle a live load of 150 lbs. per square foot, as outlined by the Federal Government. This is significantly higher than the load requirements of other commercial or residential structures. Thus, it costs more to build a library than it does to build another structure of comparable size.

Aren't libraries going to be obsolete?

No. Ebooks currently represent less than 5% of DeKalb Public Library’s total circulation numbers. In 2012, the DeKalb Public Library averaged fewer than 700 eBooks checked out per month, while hardcopies averaged 30,000 per month.

The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project conducted a national survey of Americans ages 16 and over, and 80% of the respondents said lending books is a “very important” service offered by libraries. 80% also indicated that reference librarians are a “very important” service offered by libraries.

In addition to lending materials, libraries offer a place for community programming, for groups of students to research and work together, and for parents to bring their children for fun and educational programs and events.

Who uses libraries?

The short answer: everyone.

All ages, all races, all demographics. Parents, students, retirees, job seekers, recreational readers, and people looking to start a new hobby or dig deeper into one they already have.

The DeKalb Public Library currently averages 1,000 people every day coming in to use the services we provide. Oftentimes, these patrons are looking for services we simply can’t provide due to our current space constraints.



DeKalb Public Library 309 Oak Street, DeKalb, Illinois 60115-3369

815-756-9568 • Fax: 815-756-7837

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