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Let the Renovation Begin

Yours in Literacy — A Column by Executive Director Angela Zimmermann

Let the Renovation Begin — Yours In Literacy

by | Friday, Apr 29, 2022

Note: To see the most current updates on the remodel since this article was published, visit RacineLibrary.info/Renovation.

 

Dear Community Members,

 

We are embarking upon an exciting time as we prepare the Racine Public Library for its second-floor renovation, and we could not be more thrilled. This renovation is crucial to help our current building serve us for years to come while adapting in how we bring literacy to Racine County.

 

Our building has, of course, served us well. However, as Racine grows and changes, the library must follow. Essentially, the library of the 2020s must offer new technology and increasingly human-centered services. It also must be easier and more enjoyable to use. Our renovation will adapt us to these needs. Afterwards, the library will be better equipped to help our community find resources, attend events, get support, study, discover, relax and collaborate.

Libraries have been undergoing this shift from collections to connections for many years. To be sure, checking out books and other items will always be important part of library services. However, we’ve also noticed an increase in our patrons’ requests for human services to meet their basic needs.

 

What the Renovation Will Bring

 

As the library transforms, it will soon be able to accommodate requests for new meeting spaces. We’ll also be able to welcome visitors to an upgraded Innovation Lab, Teen Space and History Room. Additionally, the library will be easier to reach once we add a second entrance to the downtown side of the building along Lake Avenue and a new staircase at its main entrance. The building will also become a new haven for our community’s creators, offering a recording studio, better browsing for our Beyond Books collection, and more.

A photo of a library staff member: Executive Director Angela Zimmermann, a white woman with chest-length, wavy, blonde hair and a big grin.

A photo of Angela Zimmermann, executive director of the Racine Public Library.

I’m thrilled to be guiding our library through this transition. In essence, providing new services that transform the purpose and definition of libraries opens limitless options for Racine. As a result, this refresh will support our community’s well-being, learning and innovation for years to come.

 

What to Expect During the Renovation

 

The next time you enter the library, you’ll notice shelves and items moving to different parts of the library as we prepare to embark on full construction. This includes our second-floor computers, which will move to the northwest corner of the building. We will strive to keep all services, resources and items as easy to use as possible throughout these updates. However, if you need assistance finding anything, our staff will be happy to help.

A preview of what the library's second floor will look like after renovation. The adult services desk is a circle in the center of the room. Bookshelves are scattered throughout, there's chairs with side table in one part of the space, and the walls are painted aqua blue.

A mock-up of what the second floor of the library could look like after the renovation.

Our contractors will begin setting up partition walls for construction on May 5, and construction will be in full swing by May 20. Then, our first phase of construction will entail building our brand-new staircase, working on the new Lake Avenue entrance (including removal of the outdoor concrete where the entrance will be) and remodeling in the southeast corner of the second floor where our Business Center and flex study spaces will emerge.

During this first phase, the first-floor bathrooms in our lobby will be inaccessible, so please plan to use the second-floor bathrooms instead.

 

What Else is New?

 

You’ll also see the library’s team out and about in the community more often throughout our renovation. Be sure to visit us at our 125th Anniversary Block Party on Lake Avenue on July 16, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Be sure to also keep an eye out for the new additions this summer to our Library GO! fleet of mobile libraries. We can’t wait to see you and show you all that we’ve been working on.

 

We’ll share regular updates through our newsletter, social media channels (at the bottom of this webpage), website and local papers so you know what to expect of your visits throughout this process, which we expect to last until early 2023. Visit RacineLibrary.info/renovation to learn more. 

 

Yours in literacy,

Angela Zimmermann

Executive Director

Racine Public Library

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