Rockford Public Library to close two local branches

Officials say increasing costs and decreasing attendance were driving factors.
Published: Oct. 28, 2020 at 6:15 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The Rockford Public Library will be closing its Rock River and Rockton Centre branches.

“Nobody in the library world wants to close branches," said Rockton Centre Branch Manager Kathi Kresol.

Kresol began working for The Rockford Public Library 21 years ago and is saddened by the announcement.

“We have some neighborhoods here that are really hurting, low income, some of the senior citizens that live in this neighborhood, it’s a really scary time and for them to loose one more thing of course it’s very sad," Kresol said.

Kresol says the areas where the branches are closing need the resources the library provides.

“It’s those people that don’t have the internet access at home," Kresol said. "We had several kids that would come they had to start school at 8:20am on their chrome books and they would line up outside of our library here doing their school work.”

In an effort to make sure all residents have access to the library, RPL plans to go mobile in the spring of 2021 to make it easier for people to get to the resources.

“We know we have neighborhoods here in Rockford where transportation is a challenge and this way we can really bring portions of our collection right out to people," said Rockford Public Library Marketing Manager Bridget Finn.

Kresol says she understands the library must adapt to current challenges and an ever changing world.

“It’s going to be sad that this location won’t be here anymore, but we’re going to be turning our faces towards the future with the library," Kresol said.

A closing date hasn’t been set yet for the Rockton Centre Branch, but the Rock River location on 11th Street is slated to close before the end of this year.

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