Niles Public Library trustees took turns smashing a wall with a sledge hammer Thursday morning, signaling the beginning of the library's $6 million renovation.
The renovation, which the board and staff planned for about two years, is scheduled for December completion, and the library will remain open during that time, library officials said.
Earlier: Library plans renovation
Normally, an event like the one Thursday morning might be called a ground-breaking ceremony--especially because Niles Mayor Robert Callero and village trustees were present to witness the festivities. But since the construction is going to take place within the library building's existing parameters, there is no ground to break.
Indicating a gypsum board wall with a bulls-eye painted on it, Sasha Vasilic, publicity and graphic design coordinator for the library, said, "Our construction team put this together to have a ground-breaking ceremony."
Library officials have said in the past they did a survey of patrons to find out what they wanted out of the library, and then designed the renovation to meet those needs.
Some highlights include a community commons area with a fireplace and comfortable seating, a young teen area and a vending cafe with tables.
During the construction process, departments will be moved around.
"At times, temporary walls may be build and it may be confusing to find things," said Sue Wilsey, the library's marketing director. Staff have been trained to help patrons find the materials they are looking for, she said.
The library will also maintain a display at the entrance to give patrons an idea of which departments are moving around in order to help them navigate. Additionally, a blog, www.thefutureunderconstruction.com, also accessible from the library's website, will provide updates on construction.
"Of course we're all very excited," said Barbara Nakanishi, the library board president. "We got to this day despite the fact some trustees fought us every step of the way."