The proposed site for a new branch library on the North Side was introduced in the City Council Wednesday by Mayor Richard M. Daley.
If approved by the Council, the new branch would be constructed at 1701 N. Milwaukee Ave. Public comment on the proposed site is invited until the Council’s final vote on the matter.
This new, full-service library would replace two storefront branches: Damen and West Town. The Damen Avenue Branch has been in a rented store at 2056 N. Damen Ave., for nearly 35 years; the West Town Branch has been a storefront facility even longer and currently is at 1271 N. Milwaukee Ave.
At 14,000 square feet, the new library would be more than three times the size of both existing branches combined, according to Daley. It would be constructed by the Public Building Commission, whose board voted earlier this month to offer the proposed site.
“We want every Chicagoan to have access to the full array of library services in modern, comfortable settings,” Daley explained. “Reading is essential to the success of our schoolchildren and enriches the lives of everyone, young and old.”
By consolidating two small branches into one large building, the Chicago Public Library will be able to provide the best possible service to the surrounding neighborhoods, said Library Commissioner Mary Dempsey.
The new branch will house a comprehensive collection of materials for children, teens and adults-including books, books on tape, newspapers and periodicals, and computers with Internet access-and will be fully accessible to people with disabilities.
Under Daley, Chicago already has built or renovated 41 library branches since 1989, including the new Austin-Irving branch that opened in December at Austin Avenue and Irving Park Road. Also under development are new libraries in nine other communities, according to PBC executive director Eileen Carey.
As with each announcement of a new neighborhood library and expansion of local library services, Daley is reminding parents that all children should have library cards and should participate in the Chicago Public Library’s many reading programs.