It had been more than 40 years since the Helen Plum Library received a voter approved increase in its tax rate. A 2015 professional assessment of the building’s condition determined that it would cost at least $8 million dollars to replace the original HVAC system, make major structural repairs, and do basic renovations. View the Assessment Results here. No additional space or conveniences would be added, and much of the work is recommended to be scheduled over the next 2 years. At the time, the Library only had $1 million dollars in its Special and Capital Reserve funds. With input from Engberg Anderson Architects and Frederick Quinn Construction, the Library Board evaluated alternatives and decided it would be a more cost effective solution to replace the building rather than make repairs on the existing building. View the Comparison Chart of options here.
The Library sought out community input with a survey in February 2016 to find out the needs of Lombard residents and how the Library could best serve those needs. View the Survey results here. We hosted approximately 9 community engagement meetings at the Library, and Library officials visited more than 15 community organizations to discuss the current Library building and services and answer questions about the need for a new building. View the Community Video below to hear input from residents about our Library.
What is possible in a New Building?
Helen Plum Library and Lilacia Park
The Library enjoys a long history of working with the Park District, all the way back to the creation of both village entities, when Colonel William Plum willed his estate and house to people of Lombard with the stipulation that the land is used as a public park, and in the memory of his wife, their house be given as a “free public library and reading rooms.” View Colonel Plum’s Will here. This history, along with vocal community members who expressed a desire for the Library to stay in it’s current location, led the Library to pursue plans to remain at 110 West Maple Street. Library officials have worked diligently to pursue plans that both honor that history while also keeping the Lombard Park District’s concerns in mind. View the three intergovernmental agreements between the Library and Park District here.
The Library and Lombard benefit from the beautiful neighboring Lilacia Park, and concern from the community was voiced over the preservation of historic Lilacs during construction of the new building. The below shade study, conducted by WRD Environmental, determined that new Library construction would not shade the park or affect the health of the lilacs in any way.
The November 8, 2016 ballot question asked for approval of a tax rate increase for the purpose of building and replacing the current aging Library building with a new, larger building, as well as expanding library collections, services and programs. The cost included a temporary relocation, new furnishings and technology, as well as fees and expenses. The Proposition would resulted in a total increase of approximately 0.216% rate that will fund a $22.3 million loan with a 20 year term, as well as increased operating expenses and capital reserves. View the Ballot here.
Thank you, Lombard! View the successful referendum results here.