Dec. 15, 2016 By Hannah Wulkan
The Elmhurst library will reopen next week after a nearly five year, $32.4 million reconstruction.
The branch at 86-01 Broadway closed in 2011 for a full demolition and rebuilding, but will reopen on Tuesday at noon with an official ribbon cutting ceremony and celebration open to the public.
The project was initially only slated to take two years, but was delayed several times throughout the process, though a library spokesperson did not answer questions as to why the project took longer than anticipated.
The new building doubles the space of the old Elmhurst Library, standing four stories high with 32,000 square feet of space. It has separate adult, teen and children’s sections, a reading atrium, and a cyber center with 32 public computers.
It also has an adult learning center and an early learning center with a play kitchen, and a large international collection with materials in nine languages.
Marpillero Pollak Architects worked to pay homage to the former library built in 1906 (funded by Andrew Carnegie), with salvaged brickwork and a fireplace mantel worked in to the design of the new building, and a 336-foot-long architectural drawing of the old building above the main checkout desk.
The library also has 13,000s square feet of outdoor space, including two green roof decks and front and rear gardens.
A giant art installation in the building aims to reflect the diversity of the Elmhurst community. Artist Allan McCollum was commissioned under the city’s Percent for Art program to design a wall installation for the new library comprised of 955 shapes cut out of wood. Each shape is approximately 7.5 by 5 inches, but all are unique from one another.
According to a library spokesperson, the installation reflects “the multiplicity of nationalities and the similarities of people who live in Elmhurst.”
The grand opening Tuesday will feature music, performances and a henna painting workshop as well as the ribbon cutting ceremony.