Dear Ms. Williams,

Thank you for your email to the Oak Park Library Board of Trustees regarding the Main Library Lobby project. On behalf of the board, I would like to address your concerns.

Ten years ago, when the Main Library opened, we began to hear from the community that the lobby space was lacking. Many asked for a more inviting space. The library responded by adding seating and more book displays. The Idea Box opened last year to improve entry to the Main Library, enhance core library services, and create a dynamic experience for visitors. We have continued to discuss further improvements to customer service, traffic flow, and directional information.

The Main Library Lobby was initially designed for people to move through. Ten years later, we know that people are using the library differently, and this project is the latest evolution of the lobby space. We hope to create a space that engages visitors and improves customer service. We also want to include additional, upgraded self-checkouts that can be used to pay fines, space for participatory activities, better traffic flow, and flexibility to respond to changing community needs in the future.

Knowing that the Main Library Lobby needed to evolve to address concerns, the library has saved some of its revenue over the past 10 years and planned ahead for repairs and upgrades to the building. After years of careful consideration, the board voted unanimously at last night’s meeting to move forward with the Main Library Lobby project.

About 5.5 percent of the property tax bill paid by an Oak Park property owner goes to the Oak Park Public Library. We strive for the highest levels of efficiency with these finite financial resources. The library’s 2012 budget is on the web at oppl.org/about/library-information/mission-vision/budget. The approved 2013 budget will also be posted in the near future.

Again, thank you for contacting the library’s board of trustees with your concerns. We welcome feedback from our visitors and taxpayers as we work to create the best possible library for Oak Park.

Should you wish to express your concerns in person, we allocate a segment of each of our board meetings for public comment. Our next board meeting is Dec. 20 in the Main Library at 7:30.

Lane Hart

President, Oak Park Public Library Board of Trustees

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