UPDATE: Construction on interim main library branch begins

Updated: May 3, 2017

UPDATE: ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – Crews are breaking down walls inside a Rockford Public Library building.

Crews put on their hard hats, put on some safety vests, and took sledgehammers to the Hart Interim Library.

It’s all part of Rockford Public Library’s construction kickoff as they start a new chapter in revamping their facilities.
The downtown branch will move into the Hart Building on Church Street temporarily so work can begin at the downtown location on Wyman Street, but first the library says some work needs to be done at the Hart building.

“I’m really happy that we found a building that's within two blocks of our current main library building because it means people can still know where to come and they can still get to a main library building,” says Lynn Stainbrook with the Rockford Public Library.

Construction on the Hart Interim Library will take about six months. Construction on the brand new main library on Wyman Street will take about four years.

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Posted: April 19, 2017

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Some big changes involving major construction projects are coming to downtown Rockford affecting the more than 300,000 people who use the main library branch each year.

Construction starts May 1 on what will soon be the temporary library location for several years as the branch on Wyman St. is torn down and rebuilt. It will take about six months to get the temporary location ready. It will be just down the street at the former Hart building at the corner of Church and Jefferson. Once that opens the main library will be torn down so ComEd can clean up toxic soil. That will take up to two years, and then construction of the new library at the same site will take another two years.

"I think you're going to see some nice open spaces, you're going to see a lot of conference rooms, gathering spaces, it will certainly have a children’s room, it's going to have a local history room, genealogy dimension to the local history room. We will be able to expand our databases, we'll be able to maintain a good sized collection," Paul Logli, President of the Rockford Public Library Board, said.

As for what the outside of the new library will look like, it will be up to us. The library plans to hold public meetings about the future design.

The project will cost about $35 million, paid for by ComEd. The library will have to buy some items for the new space like furniture and equipment, but fundraising will pay for those upgrades.