Monday, September 29, 2008


So where does the building and expansion planning stand, you ask? We are waiting.

In fact, we are waiting for two things in particular:

First, we are waiting for the architect to present preliminary cost estimates on several different scenarios (for the downtown site only) at the next Special Board meeting, slated for October 6. The scenarios, discussed at the last meeting, bring together the priorities expressed by the Site Feasibility Committee and the Board of Trustees and the requirements of the building program.

Second, we are waiting for the selection of a public finance consultant. The Board is scheduled for second interviews with the finalists on October 15. The public finance consultant will help the Trustees to determine the financial implications of the proposed building and expansion and how to finance the project.

In the meantime, the building program is being finalized, with library staff input.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Voter registration drive at the library - and other services you might not know about

We're having a voter registration drive from September 22nd through October 7th (the last day to register for the fall election). Nearly every library staff member is a voter registrar, trained by Will County Voter Registration Department. Like being able to register to vote at the DMV, it is a convenience for our community. Because the library is open 7 days a week, including evenings, and located nearby, many residents find this a convenient, value-added service.

Filling the needs of our community has led to the library offering a number of services that you may not associate with traditional library offerings:

Notary Public - During Business Office hours, designated library staff can notarized your documents for free! Call ahead to verify availability of designated staff.

Tax Forms - When the Post Office stopped carrying your paper tax forms, the library started. Forms are distributed by the IRS to the library.

Wireless Printing - you may know about the free wireless access at the library, but did you know you can print through the wireless connection for a nominal fee? See or library staff for details.

Copy and fax - for a nominal fee, self-service copiers are available, including a color copier. Fax service is also available at a per sheet fee.

Just a few more services available at your local library!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Expanding - one piece of property at a time

After a long negotiation, the Board of Trustees have finally come to terms with the owner of 15022 S. Route 59, former home of 59 Hair Design. The contract sets the price at $1,000 over the highest appraised value of the property. The Board of Trustees were determined to begin the process of expansion as they mean to go on - as good stewards of the taxpayers' funds, paying a fair price for the property. I believe that they achieved that aim with this contract.

With the addition of this piece of property, the Library will be able to continue planning for approximately 70,000 sq ft of library space in the downtown. Another 30,000 sq ft is slated for a second site. The amount of space that can be accommodated on the downtown site determines what is needed for a second site. Following last night's Special Board Meeting where the contract was signed, they are now prepared to contemplate the location of a second site.

With frugal management, the Board of Trustees have accumulated a Special Reserve Fund for capital projects. The Special Reserve Fund is the only fund in which the Library's accumulation of money is not capped by state law. By law, this fund may only be used for designated purposes - in our Library's case emergencies and capital projects. Developer impact fees, required by the Village of Plainfield through an intergovernmental agreement, are accumulated in the Special Reserve Fund, plus any surplus in the Operating Fund at the end of each fiscal year (usually very little).

The Board of Trustees planned for years to accumulate these funds in order to do planning and land acquisition prior to any referendum for building expansion. It is the Special Reserve Fund that allowed them to purchase the property at 15028 S. Route 59 (aka "the Gray house" or the grass lot behind the library's parking lot) without a mortgage in 2003 and will allow the same for the 15022 S. Route 59. In 2010, when the library is contracted to purchase the parking lot next door to 15028 S. Route 59 from the Village, the Library will again be able to purchase the property without a mortgage.

The Board of Trustees will continue their commitment to sound fiscal decisions for the Library on your behalf throughout the expansion process.