A site for the new branch library planned for the South Side’s Avalon community was proposed Tuesday by the Public Building Commission of Chicago.
If approved by the Chicago City Council, to which the proposal will be forwarded, the new Avalon Branch would be built about six blocks north of the neighborhood’s current library building and be 6,000 square feet larger than the existing branch, according to PBC executive director Eileen Carey.
After studying the matter with library officials, the PBC board proposed the replacement branch be located on the northwest corner of 82nd Street and Stony Island Avenue. The current Avalon Branch is at 8828 S. Stony Island Ave. Public comment on the proposed site is invited while pending before the City Council.
“A new, larger Avalon library will strengthen the surrounding neighborhood, giving both children and adults the fullest possible opportunity to read-both for educational purposes and for pure pleasure,” said Mayor Richard M. Daley, who also chairs the PBC.
The current Avalon Branch, at 8,000 square feet, has become too small to provide the best-possible service to the surrounding community, explained Library Commissioner Mary A. Dempsey. Alderman Todd Stroger (8th) has expressed support for the new site.
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. As with all new branches, it will be fully accessible to people with disabilities.
Chicago already has built or renovated 40 library branches since 1989, including a new building scheduled to open in early December at Austin Avenue and Irving Park Road. Also under development are new libraries in eight other communities, including West Englewood and on the West Side at Chicago and Lamon avenues.
Daley used the Avalon announcement to remind parents that all children should have library cards and can participate in the Chicago Public Library’s many reading programs. “We want every Chicagoan, young and old, to have close and comfortable access to a full array of reading materials,” he said. “Reading is essential to the success of our schoolchildren and seeing adults read sends a strong, positive message to kids.”