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Edgewater Eagerly Awaits New $13.5M Library

By Benjamin Woodard | November 1, 2012 8:48am

EDGEWATER — A shiny, new library in Edgewater is moving steadily toward completion, and residents can hardly wait.

Since the old, one-story library was torn down on North Broadway last year, crews have been working to construct a two-story, $13.5 million replacement.

"[Ald. Harry Osterman] had been working with the [Chicago Public Library] commissioner very closely for several years," said Ruth Lednicer, spokeswoman for the city's library system. "[The old library] wasn’t large enough and was really outdated."

The new library will open, Lednicer said, by early summer 2013. The 18,665-square-foot building will include more room for patrons to read, to study and to use computers and other technology. She said other areas in the library would be dedicated to teen programming.

The construction of the new Edgewater Branch was paid for mostly with bonds and funding from the area's tax increment financing district, she said.

Five-year Edgewater resident Carol Nordstrom is looking forward to having the community center back in the neighborhood.

"I'm watching it grow every day walking by, and I can't wait for it to be finished," she said. "We have such a vibrant community in Edgewater."

Nordstrom has been using the library system's brightly colored, RV-looking mobile branch, called Bookmobile, parked outside the Broadway Armory to return her checked-out books every few weeks, she said.

Although patrons can only drop off and pickup requested material at the Bookmobile, several neighbors strolled in and out of the rolling branch with books in tow on a morning in October.

Parked just down the street from the library construction site, Bookmobile is open for a few hours a day, except for on Sunday and Monday when its closed.

Lednicer said the library system is slowly renovating or reconstructing many of its neighborhood branches.

She said it's easier for the library system to build a brand new library rather than renovating an old one with new wiring and other updates.

"They just don’t have the capacity for the amount of technology people need now," she said.