Plainfield Public Library District

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does Plainfield need a bigger library?

When construction on the current Library began, the official Library District population was 14,123, with five schools in Plainfield School District 202. Today, the Library serves 75,337, with 30 schools in Plainfield School District 202. Over 60,000 more people are being served by the same 27,000 square foot Library. When the Library opened, it offered two word processing computers and typewriters for public use and collections included cassette tapes and VHS. Modern email did not exist. Today, more than 30 public computers are used for more than 24,000 hours of public computing sessions annually. Formats include DVD, BluRay, MP3, downloadable books and audiobooks, streaming music and video, ereaders, Rokus, etc. The Library has over 209,000 items in its collection today, possible only due to virtual rather than physical items.

Librarians are often asked, “Why do we need libraries when we have the Internet?” The Internet cannot provide the personalized help and hands-on instruction of the 21st century library. In 1991, 2,236 reference questions were asked and answered at the Library. In 2015, it was more than 56,000, over 25 times the number asked in 1990. Today’s questions are more complex because the easy answers are readily available. Complex questions, help with devices and teaching new technology skills comprise answers to today’s questions at the Library.

Classes and programs are a huge part of 21st century public library service. 1993 was the first year the Library kept program attendance statistics – with 2,214 attending programs that were only for children. In 2015, over 50,000 attended a Library program, spanning all ages. That’s 22 times more people attending programs in 2015.

With 5 times more people in the Library District, doing 22 and 25 times the business in core services, the Library’s revenue has not increased that amount. In 1990, the Library District’s median home value of $100,000 paid $103 in property taxes to the Library, for $30.17 per capita. Today’s median home value of $300,000 paid $192.89 in property taxes, for $44.93 per capita. Adjusting for inflation, 1990 per capita revenue is $51.99 in today’s dollars. With more services and devices and formats in demand than ever before, per capita purchasing power has declined.

In 2015, the average Plainfield Public Library resident checked out more than 8 items, attended a library program, used a public computer for an average session of 43 minutes and asked a question. That is $256.87 in value for materials and services received for the $44.93 per capita investment in the Library.

Serving Our Public 3.0: Standards for Illinois Public Libraries sets 4 levels of standards: Minimum, Growing, Established and Advanced. Today, the Plainfield Public Library is below the Minimum standard for Staffing, Hours of Service and Facility Size. It is between Minimum and Growing for Collection Size.

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Why was the downtown location selected?

The current site is located very near the geographic center of the Library District. The Library Board of Trustees decided early in the planning process to pursue only single site options due to the cost of operating two facilities. An alternate site was considered. Public meetings and online surveys showed overwhelming support for the Library to remain at its current location. Reasons cited by participants in public meetings included its being an anchor to the downtown and convenience of access. See 15_0611_PPL%20Public%20Presentation.pdf

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Why not put a branch on X Street or near Y?

Staffing costs comprise 60-70% of a public library’s budget. The Library Board of Trustees decided early in the planning process to pursue only single site options due the cost of operating two facilities. Early feedback from the community reinforced the need to keep project costs as low as possible. The guiding principle for the planning process is to create an efficient and cost-effective plan that significantly improves library service for the community. (See Illinois Library Association, Serving Our Public Task Force. Serving Our Public 3.0: Standards for Illinois Public Libraries. Chicago, IL: Illinois Library Association, 2014.)

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How big will it be?

The proposed building is about 72,000 square feet, approximately triple the current size. As a three story building, the footprint of the building on the site is about double the current size.

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Does the proposed expansion still allow for future accommodation of a resurgence of growth?

Yes, the proposed plan was created with a projected population of 105,000 in the Library District by 2040, a 40% increase over today’s district population. There are many factors that will affect its capacity to meet community needs in the long term: speed and location of growth, population shifts, technology, etc. In the future, a branch library is the most likely means of meeting any needs that exceed the capacity of the proposed expansion.

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How will it fit on the downtown site?

The Library is contracted to purchase additional properties along Route 59 in order to fit the building and parking on the site. The proposed project would build the new Library on north side of the expanded site, with the main parking lot between the Library and Plymouth Congregational Church (located on the corner of Lockport Street and Illinois Street) and additional parking to the north. This will maximize south facing windows for daylight in the Library, visibility from the downtown, place public parking between the Library and downtown businesses and allow for staff and overflow parking on the north side of the new building.

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How much parking will there be on the site?

Over 170 spaces are planned for the expanded Library site. This includes a main public parking lot between the new Library and Plymouth Congregational Church, as well as a new lot on the north side of the Library, adjacent to Route 59, to be used for staff and overflow parking. The main lot will contain approximately 120 spaces and about 50 in the staff/overflow lot.

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How much will it cost?

The building, its contents and the purchase of additional property will be funded by a $39 million building bond with a 20 year maturity. The operations will be funded by an increase to the Library’s limiting tax rate of 0.0390, or just under four cents per $100 of home value, to 0.2442. The estimated total cost to the average home in Plainfield is $14.91 per month, just under $180 per year for a $300,000 home. The cost increase is approximately $12 per month for the bond and $3 per month for the operations.

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What will the tax rate question look like on the ballot?

Referenda appear last on the ballot, so look for it at the end or on the back. It will look like this:

  1. The approximate amount of taxes extendable at the most recently extended limiting rate is $3,647,727, and the approximate amount of taxes extendable if the proposition is approved is $4,339,712.
  2. For the 2016 levy year the approximate amount of the additional tax extendable against property containing a single family residence and having a fair market value at the time of the referendum of $100,000 is estimated to be $13.00.
  3. If the proposition is approved, the aggregate extension for 2016 will be determined by the limiting rate set forth in the proposition, rather than the otherwise applicable limiting rate calculated under the provisions of the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (commonly known as the Property Tax Cap Law).

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What does that all mean, in plain language?

Directly translated: Can the tax rate, under the tax cap, for the Library, go up 3.9 cents per $100 of home value, if added to last year’s tax rate that would be 24.42 cents per $100 of home value, added on the 2017 tax bill?

The language used in the question in mandated by the Illinois Compiled Statutes. Tax rates are expressed in mils, which means per $100 of value. You have to add two zeros after the decimal before calculating its tax impact. Property taxes are collected the year after – 2016 property taxes are collected in 2017. The equalized assessed valuation of a property is 1/3 its fair market value, less any property tax exemptions for which you may qualify, such as the General Homestead exemption for owner occupied property. The funds generated by a limiting rate increase will be used to operate the new Library building. It’s a 19% increase in operating funds for a building nearly triple the size of the current building. After the one year specified in the question, the Library’s tax rate will be subject to the tax cap again, with the new base limiting rate.

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What will the building bond question look like on the ballot?

Referenda appear last on the ballot, so look for it at the end or on the back. It will look like this:

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What does that mean, in plain language?

Directly translated: Can the Library issue bonds for $39,000,000 to build a new library, including buying property, tearing down the old building, making a new parking lot, buying furnishings and equipping the new building with computers?

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How long will the tax increase last?

The building bond portion of the increase will be paid off in 20 years and automatically be removed from your tax bill. The limiting tax rate increase is ongoing for the operation of the Library, subject to the tax cap.

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Will the tax rate for the building bond be the same every year?

The bond repayment tax rate generally decreases over time as new property is annexed or develops, spreading the fixed payment amount over a larger tax base. The bond rate on the existing Library was 0.1657 in its first year, but dropped to 0.0094 by the final (20th) year.

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Why build a three story building?

Three levels balances the “footprint” of the building on the current site with efficiency of Library operations. Operationally, the Library currently staffs three service desks – Reference, Youth Services and Check Out. Deploying a service desk to each level maximizes the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of a three level design. It also provides for acoustical separation between noisier and quieter uses of the Library. The ground level features the main meeting rooms and popular materials, with Youth Services on the second floor and Reference & Reader Services on the third.

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Why not retain existing building?

The “raised ranch” floor plan of the existing building is operationally inefficient. A ground level is needed to accommodate ADA accessibility, a drive up book drop, service window and loading/receiving. The building’s location on the existing site makes placement of a large addition awkward – cutting off access to parking from Lockport Street or Illinois Street, depending on the orientation of the addition. 15_0611_PPL%20Public%20Presentation.pdf

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Isn’t the existing building historic?

Built in 1940, the existing building is not historic, nor is it the original library building. The original library, opened in 1926, was a wood frame structure located on Lockport Street, approximately where the Heritage Professional Center parking lot stands today. That original library was a single 25×30 room with a “separate toilet building.” For a photo, see 2015-07 Library presentation building history and taxes

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Why tear down existing homes / historic homes to build a larger library?

The Library investigated alternative sites during its planning process. The current site’s advantages include its downtown location, Route 59 access and proximity to the geographic center of its service area. Options for undeveloped sites of adequate size near the geographic center of the Library’s service area are limited in number and high in cost. A potential land deal to acquire a site currently owned by the Village of Plainfield received no community support due to its location and unknown prospects for development of surrounding property. The existing homes contracted for purchase by the Library are zoned BTD (Business Transition District). The five houses are neither located in a historic district nor designated as local landmarks. Anyone wishing to remove the homes to alternate locations should contact the Library Board of Trustees.

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What will the new library have that the current library doesn’t?

Study rooms of various sizes provide work space for individual or group projects. Flexible meeting rooms will allow for 3 simultaneous events or they can be combined into a large, 290 seat performance/presentation space. Teens will have their own tech and event room. Kids will have storytime and craft rooms. An expanded computer classroom will allow us to offer more computer and software classes. English Language Learning and citizenship classes will be able to grow with access to a larger room.

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What happens if it doesn’t pass in March?

If it fails, a minimum estimated 20% cut to services and programs will be needed to keep the existing building functional in the long term. If major renovations such as those needed to maintain operations of this building are done, those renovations will need to comply with current building codes. For example, the boiler shut off is currently located on the boiler. Under today’s code, it should be located 15 feet from the boiler. The boiler is a few feet from the main electrical panel and the water heater is between the two, with no physical separation. Today’s code requires distance and physical separation that would require a complete reconfiguration of the mechanical rooms and all of the wiring, piping, etc. located there.

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What will it look like?

Renderings of the exterior concept plans can be found on the Building and Expansion Planning web page. A 3D model of the building and site will be on display at the Library (anticipated delivery in January). Because full design and specifications will be done after a successful referendum, additional opportunities for public feedback will be held as designs are finalized.

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Can’t you build a bigger library without public money/raising taxes?

By definition, a public library is built and operated with public funds. However, donations and grants can supplement public funds. The first and second library buildings in Plainfield were built entirely with funds from bequests. The 1991 addition to the second building and its build-out in 1996 were funded in part by a third bequest and a grant from the State of Illinois. However, the Library and Plainfield Public Library Foundation have not received a substantial bequest since 1954. The State of Illinois is not currently dispersing funds for library construction grants.

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If the Library stops offering programs and classes, wouldn’t that save enough money to build a new building?

Programming and classes are essential to the Library’s mission: Educate – Captivate – Connect. 21st century public library service includes an emphasis on learning, collaboration and content creation. The Library’s Strategic Plan goals include programming to achieve its mission and meet the needs of the community. Direct programming costs account for approximately 2% of the Library’s operating budget. The amount saved by cutting all programs would only be enough to pay for approximately 1/39th of the proposed project cost. 2011-2015 Annual Report Expenditures

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We don’t need a new library – we can use Naperville or Bolingbrook’s libraries.

Naperville and Bolingbrook (Fountaindale Public Library District) residents both pay significantly more in property taxes for their libraries than Plainfield Public Library District residents. Services offered to those residing outside of their boundaries can be curtailed at any time by their respective governing bodies. For example, non-residents may use the Studio 300 digital media lab at the Fountaindale Public Library District only weekdays from 10am-2pm without paying an additional fee.

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Can’t you cut xxx to make the project cheaper?/Can’t you make it smaller so it’ll be less expensive?

Library Board and staff have worked with the library building consultant, owner’s representative and architects to ensure that the project is efficient and cost effective while significantly improving library service to the community. Its size and layout are optimized for staffing, the largest operating cost for a public library. The initial Space Needs Analysis by Library Planning Associates placed the 20 year space need at 94,000 sq ft. The Library Board of Trustees felt that the community would not support facilities of that size or their operating costs. With the help of library building consultant and architects, staff used their expertise and experience at utilizing space as efficiently as possible to reduce the overall size of the project by more than 20% to the 72,000 sq ft proposed.

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What are 21st century library services?

The phrase “21st century library services” refers to the evolving way libraries provide resources and services to meet the community’s needs for education, information and personal development, including recreation and leisure. 21st century library services reflect the changing world we live in, utilizing the latest technology and responding to the changing needs of our community. They include technology support, hands-on individual instruction, ebooks and downloadables, loaning devices and teaching software applications. They demonstrate the shift in library service from physical to virtual, individual to community, collections to creation and archives to portal. 2015-08 Library presentation

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What’s wrong with the current building? It’s so welcoming/nice/well-kept.

The current building is 25 years old. It has been heavily used and many building systems and components have reached or exceeded their useful life. Even with extensive renovation and an addition, its design creates costly operating inefficiencies. Chief among these would be the need for staffing at least 2 additional service desks, due to a 5 level configuration. Its location on the site forces an addition that cuts off access from Illinois Street to the parking lot. With the cost of phased construction estimated at $1 million more than new construction, creating a building that is also efficient and cost-effective to operate long term was determined to be the best course of action. 2015-07-15 Board meeting presentation and summary

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How does this cost and size compare to other libraries in the area?

LIBRARY POPULATION SQUARE FOOTAGE TOTAL TAX RATE AVERAGE HOUSEHOLD PROPERTY TAX
Fountaindale Public Library District (Bolingbrook) 67,683 114,000 0.5805 $536.58
Oswego Public Library District (Oswego, Montgomery) 58,871 71,746 (2 locations) 0.3247 $300.13
White Oak Public Library District (Crest Hill, Lockport, Romeoville)* 77,893 89,750 (3 locations) 0.3236 $299.11
Plainfield Public Library District 75,337 27,160 0.2057 $192.89

Also note: the bond repayment tax rate decreases over time as new property is annexed or develops, spreading the fixed payment amount over a larger tax base. All three example libraries have been paying for 5 years or more on their bonds. The bond rate on the current Library was 0.1657 in its first year, but dropped to 0.0094 by the final year.

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Why are libraries so expensive to build?

Public libraries are unique in many ways. The “live load” capacity of a public library is 150lbs per sq ft, more similar to grocery stores and warehouses than offices and schools. Furnishings and equipment must be able to withstand heavy use for an extended time. Technology infrastructure, including cabling, computers, servers and peripherals added to these requirements, brings average construction cost for public libraries to over $500 per square foot. Moving costs for libraries are high due to weight and number of items that must be relocated in order for each individual item. Other cost factors include site conditions such as property acquisition, demolition and disposal of existing structures.

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What about all of the money spent on HVAC, windows, doors, etc. over the past few years?

The projects completed since the 2012 Building evaluation have been focused on repairing and replacing systems essential to day-to-day operations. Because the proposed project will take approximately 24-36 months from the time it passes to opening day, the current building must remain functional until a new building opens. This includes keeping it heated, cooled, dry inside and ADA accessible.

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The current building was built for $3.5 million. This is $39 million. Why so much more?

Basic technology infrastructure for a public library has changed significantly since 1991. In 1991, only 2 computers for the public were needed for opening day. Data cabling was not run throughout the building. No servers were needed. Power outlets were unnecessary at study tables. Meeting rooms had minimal audiovisual equipment. Today, power and data are essential throughout the building. Meeting and study rooms contain screen, projection equipment and control systems. Over 150 computers, multiple servers and other networked equipment will be needed. Since 1990, the average construction cost per square foot for public libraries has nearly tripled. Acquisition of additional property was not included in the bonds for the 1991 building, but is included in this proposed bond issue.

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Can’t a fee-for-use system fund some features?

Public libraries are, by definition, publicly funded, offering basic library service without use fees. Services that use consumables, such as paper and toner for copies, plastic for 3D printing, etc., are fee-for-use services in many libraries.

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I heard there’s an auditorium. Can’t you just use the ones at the schools?

There is no auditorium in the proposed project. There are three meeting rooms that can be combined to accommodate an audience of up to 290. Plainfield School District 202’s high school auditoriums are primarily used by the high schools and elementary and middle schools that feed into each. The availability of these for Library events that are not jointly sponsored is limited.

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Can’t the auditorium be left out to save money?

There is no auditorium in the proposed project. There are three meeting rooms that can be combined to accommodate an audience of up to 290. This is one of the cost and space saving changes made during the planning process to reduce the overall size of the building. The combined space will accommodate programs of larger size that occur less frequently, while providing for the everyday meeting room needs.

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Plainfield Library doesn’t have all of the books I want, but Bolingbrook Library does. Why can’t we have them? Is the problem room? Or money?

Both space and money are issues that contribute to the undersized collection at the Plainfield Library. The Library currently must weed (or remove from the collection) one book for every physical item added. This practice prevents the Library’s collection from growing in depth over time. The Fountaindale Public Library District has a tax rate of more than twice the Plainfield Public Library’s tax rate for decades and has had the space to retain more, resulting in a larger collection.

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How did the library pay for the telephone survey? What did it cost?

The cost of the survey was paid with operating funds for the Library. The Library Board of Trustees received three proposals for a telephone survey, ranging in cost from $6,000 to $18,000 for a random sample size of 300. Public Research Group, a Naperville based company was awarded the contract for $6,000.

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How were the telephone survey questions developed?

Public Research Group, from Naperville, worked with the Library Board of Trustees and staff, first to determine what information they were seeking and then how to get that information from respondents. The benefit of using a professional survey company is their expertise in developing questions that are unbiased and confirm the answers given.

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There aren’t enough spaces available for the program I want to attend. Why are the programs I want always full?

The current Library building was built to serve a community of up to 30,000. Today, the Plainfield Public Library District serves 75,337. There simply is not enough room to accommodate every resident that would like to attend a program. The largest meeting room has a maximum capacity of about 150 for children’s programs, seated on the floor. In the proposed plan, the three meeting rooms can be combined to accommodate an audience of up to 290.

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How does this plan address future growth?

The proposed plan will build and equip a Library that will be functional for the Plainfield community up to a population of approximately 105,000. It also maximizes the current location. Library Building Consultant Anders Dahlgren noted to the Library Board of Trustees early in the planning process that most public libraries create their first branch when population reaches 60,000. When the proposed building is outgrown, it is likely, with the information available today, that a branch facility would be needed to meet community needs.

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How come I don’t see any (green features, study rooms, computer classroom, etc.) on the floor plans?

The floor plans as shown are “bubbles” showing the estimated square footage needed for a group of spaces that should be near one another. The bullet points beside each floor plan list notable elements contained in the “bubble” version of the floor plans. The contents of each “bubble” are detailed in the Schematic Building Program. IL-Plainfield-Schematic-Building-Program

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Are these drawing and floor plans final?

The proposed plans are close, but not final. The final development of the plans and full specifications will be done after a successful referendum, as a cost saving measure for the pre-referendum phase. Because the materials and products used for constructing and equipping a building change over time, the Library Board of Trustees decided not to develop specifications until funding is secured.

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Where’s the green roof, other “green” elements and outdoor space?

The Library Board of Trustees is committed to making the building as green as possible within budget. Because the plans are not finalized, many of those elements are not yet shown. However, in public meeting and surveys, green elements such as outdoor space and a green roof were suggested numerous times. A green roof is shown on west and north side of the building, where the second and third stories are smaller than the ground level. Also note the green area at the southwest corner of the building along Illinois Street, which is intended for an outdoor program space if possible.

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Why are south-facing windows good for libraries?

South-facing windows are desirable for maximizing passive solar heat and minimizing the need for artificial light. The Library Journal article The New Placemakers: New Landmark Libraries 2015 identified 9 trends among the award-winning libraries profiled. It states: “7) Transparent and light-filled These libraries shine, literally as well as figuratively. Curtain walls allow many of these libraries to be visible, both from outside and within. These walls aren’t just for looks but feature energy-saving double- glazed glass, low-e coating, or argon fluid air space, which make them especially efficient and responsive to their environment… Additional light sources (skylights, clerestory windows, and even courtyards) draw daylight deeper into the building, making reading more comfortable and reducing the need for artificial light sources.” http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2015/09/buildings/library-buildings/the-new-placemakers-new-landmark-libraries-2015/#_

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What will happen to the old building?

The Library will remain open in the old building until the new building is complete, then move across the parking lot. The old building will be razed and the parking lot completed following the move.

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When would the new building open?

It will take an estimated 24-36 months from the time of a successful referendum until the new Library would open to the public.

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Are you going to charge a fee to use the meeting rooms, digital media lab and classes?

There will be fees for outside organizations to use the meeting rooms just as there are now. Classes and programs will be free unless there’s a “take home” such as a 3D printer class that may charge for what you make or a flat fee. In the digital media lab, there will be a charge for materials, just as we charge for printing now, on a cost-recovery basis.

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Since Will County has a mobile Workforce Development unit that comes to the Library weekly, why do you need more space for workforce development training?

Programs, classes and cultural events are part of basic library service now, especially in technology training. Having a great technology classroom will allow us to better partner with not only Will County Workforce Services but also many other agencies to offer support and classes. Our partners include SCORE of Fox Valley, Plainfield Area Chamber of Commerce, Joliet Junior College and the other government entities serving the Plainfield community. Demand for computer classes and software training exceeds our current capacity.

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Will this building require additional staff?

The proposed plan includes some new staff and utilizes the current staff more efficiently. The Library currently staffs three service desks – Reference, Youth Services and Check Out. Deploying a service desk to each level maximizes the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of staffing the three level design. An Automated Materials Handling system will allow more staff to be on the public floor helping people rather than behind the scenes checking in and sorting books. Additional staff will allow the Library to provide the 21st century library services the community needs, particularly in the areas of technology training and support. These staff will be available to help with devices, teach people how to use digital recording equipment or 3D printers, teach software classes, etc.

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Why now?

The age and condition of the building and its systems forces the timing. We estimate a 20% cut to operations would be needed to keep the current building operational for the next 20 years. That would be no space increase, just replacing and updating building systems. The systems are past their expected life and failing. If the Library undertakes the needed renovations to replace them, it triggers compliance with new codes. Compliance will require extensive physical changes. For example, the boiler, water heater and electrical system main shut off are all within a few feet of one another in a single room. Current code requires both a greater distance and physical separation between them, which would require a complete reconfiguration of the mechanical areas.

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It looks large for the proposed location. Will the existing space be utilized or ultimately torn down?

The current building will be torn down after the new building is built. The location on the current site is problematic for addition and split level design is inefficient in any additional scenario. The cost includes additional property. Site plan can be viewed here (pg 16): 15_1217-PPL-Board-Mtg.pdf

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In terms of population growth, the need for more space seems obvious but has library usage increased at the same pace?

Yes, usage has increased exponentially along with population. The most dramatic increases occurred in the decade 2001-2010 as shown here: (beginning on pg 27 Strategic Plan 2011-2015-2 and have continued to rise: 2015 Annual Report Summary

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Is there an identified need in the community for the meeting spaces to be included?

Absolutely! The current building cannot accommodate the library’s programs and community members and organizations seeking meeting space are turned away daily. In the first 11 months of 2015, the library’s rooms were used over 2,100 times, only about 1/4 of which were for the public because library use limits their availability. Meeting rooms will be available both for library programs and public use. The three meeting rooms that can be combined into a single large event space will accommodate 290 people at a single event, about twice as many as today. Meeting room use statistics can be found in the monthly Board packets available here: Citizens Information Center

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Could a closer brick match be selected to better fit in with the rest of downtown?

The brick color and style on the current renderings is similar to the Trolley Barn building downtown. Please keep in mind that the design will not be finalized until after a successful referendum. During the final design process, the Library will be working closely with the Village, including the Historic Preservation Commission, Planning Department and Plan Commission. The process will include public input as well. No one can say exactly what the building’s exterior will look like when it’s built, but it will not look exactly like the current renderings.

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What is the currently library’s square footage for adult materials (books and DVDs) and what is the square footage for the proposed new building for adult materials?

Current adult book collection area is 3,096 sq ft . This includes fiction, nonfiction, CDs, audiobooks, large print and nonfiction DVDs (currently interfiled with nonfiction). Adult DVD/New Book area is 528 sq ft and Blu Ray is 132 sq ft. The total of all adult collection areas on the upper level is approximately 5,600 sq ft. In the proposed plan, the approximate square feet of the new functional areas are: New Books 638 sq ft, Large Print 966 sq ft, Audiovisual collections (DVDs, CDs, audiobooks) 3,995 sq ft, Fiction 3,050 sq ft, and Nonfiction 5,995 sq ft. Total adult collections area is approximately 14,650 sq ft. Floor plans, site plan and exterior will be finalized following a successful referendum.

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How many new books and DVD’s for adults will be planned to be added if / when the new library is built?

Total item count will depend on cost of items selected. Over $500,000 is planned for an opening day collection. Current collection budget is about $450,000 annually, including database subscriptions. The opening day collection budget would be in additional to the regularly budgeted amount and would be spent primarily on physical items.

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What are the elements that the architect claims capture the details of the downtown facades in the exterior renderings as shown?

Downtown details included in the current design are: primarily brick façade, stone detailing, stone lintels, brick detail cornice line, patterned brickwork, window size/shape and color palate of brick. The color and style of brick in the proposed design are similar the Trolley Barn. The pattern brickwork, stone lintels and details and cornice detailing are predominant in the Illinois Street to Des Plaines Street block of Lockport Street. Please keep in mind that the design will not be finalized until after a successful referendum.

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The orientation of the building does not feel at all neighborhood friendly.  Shouldn’t the building be facing Illinois Street, with the parking behind?

The orientation of the building was selected for the southern exposure (very desirable for daylighting in library design), balance of accessibility for parking and pedestrian access from Illinois St/downtown and maintaining a frontage on Illinois St similar to the frontage on the street today (not increasing the “weight” of the building along Illinois St.). Proximity of parking to the Library entrance is an accessibility concern for Americans with Disabilities Act compliance and best practices. Particularly when architectural style places the entrance in the center of the facade, as with Colonial Revival and Georgian, balancing pedestrian access from downtown and the parking lot is impossible. If facing Illinois St, the parking is too far for accessibility. If facing the parking lot, it’s too far from downtown/Illinois St. This is one example of how the differing needs compete in the design process.

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What about the homes on Illinois Street? Won’t they be overlooking a sea of parking to Route 59?

While the new building as currently proposed would move on the site from the south end to the north end, the elevation facing Illinois Street is very similar in linear frontage to the current Library. Only one home (owned by the Library and used for storage today) would be removed from the line of sight from the Illinois Street homes. Three homes which face parking today would face the new Illinois Street facade. Two businesses and one home would face parking instead of the Library. One home will still face straight through to Route 59. In addition, the new landscaping should help “green” the area, replacing the the dying parkway trees that have inadequate soil and water today along Illinois Street.

Maintaining an adequate amount of parking was the #1 public comment received about the downtown site. Given the lot sizes and shapes of adjacent property, expanding the current site through the block was the most efficient and cost-effective means of expanding the current site to address this issue. Again, the design is not yet final and other possibilities exist, including the relocation of those structures to other sites or working parking around some or all of them.

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I really don’t like the exterior rendering. Is that really what it will look like?

During the final design process, the Library will be working closely with the Village, including the Historic Preservation Commission, Planning Department and Plan Commission to create a final design that is at least acceptable to all groups. The process will include public input as well. The Village’s Comprehensive Plan and Vision for Division will all inform that process. No one can say exactly what the building’s exterior will look like when it’s built, but it will not look exactly like the current renderings.

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Taxes were raised to pay for the current library. When do those bonds retire?

The bonds for the current building were issued in 1990 and retired in 2010. Over the life of the bonds, the rate fell from 0.1657 mils to 0.0094 mils. A 2003 refinancing saved taxpayers over $250,000 on interest for those bonds.

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Why is a brick and steel building only good for 25 years? The Will County Court House has been in use for 47 years.

The brick and steel are fine. The current building is 25 years old and has been heavily used. Many building systems and components have reached or exceeded their useful life and are not compliant with current building codes. The “raised ranch” floor plan of the existing building is operationally inefficient. A ground level is needed to accommodate ADA accessibility, a drive-up book return, service window and loading/receiving. The building’s location on the existing site makes placement of a large addition awkward – cutting off access to parking from Lockport Street or Illinois Street, depending on the orientation of the addition. Even with extensive renovation and an addition, its design creates costly operating inefficiencies. Chief among these would be the need for staffing at least two additional service desks, due to a five level configuration that minimizes the footprint of an addition but also includes a ground level for accessibility. With the cost of phased construction estimated at $1 million more than new construction, creating a building that is also efficient and cost-effective to operate long term was determined to be the best course of action. Click Here for More Information

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Are there any substantial reasons expansion is needed, besides population growth?

Use has outstripped population growth on all measures. Demand for services cannot be met in the current building. Click Here for More Information

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Why is a 25 year old building so obsolete that it needs to be demolished?

The brick and steel are fine. The current building is 25 years old and has been heavily used. Many building systems and components have reached or exceeded their useful life and are not compliant with current building codes. The “raised ranch” floor plan of the existing building is operationally inefficient. A ground level is needed to accommodate ADA accessibility, a drive-up book return, service window and loading/receiving. The building’s location on the existing site makes placement of a large addition awkward – cutting off access to parking from Lockport Street or Illinois Street, depending on the orientation of the addition. Even with extensive renovation and an addition, its design creates costly operating inefficiencies. Chief among these would be the need for staffing at least two additional service desks, due to a five level configuration that minimizes the footprint of an addition but also includes a ground level for accessibility. With the cost of phased construction estimated at $1 million more than new construction, creating a building that is also efficient and cost-effective to operate long term was determined to be the best course of action. Click Here for More Information

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Why is the proposed construction cost 45% greater than that of any other municipal building?

Construction cost is approximately $390 per square foot. The total cost is approximately $542 per square foot, and includes everything from land acquisition and demolition to the servers and network equipment. By comparison, the Fountaindale Public Library District’s approximately 110,00 sq ft building, breaking ground in 2009, cost $39.5 million for the entire project cost (construction, land, equipment, furnishings, design etc). The proposed project for Plainfield Library has an inflation cost factor built in for a 2017 groundbreaking.

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Why can’t the public library tap into the existing Village budget? Is the Village benefiting financially from expensing this to the taxpayers?

The Plainfield Public Library District is an independent taxing body with a directly elected Board of Trustees and levies its own taxes specifically for library services. While the Library District’s boundaries encompass the Village of Plainfield, its funding and governance are completely separate. There is no oversight or approval authority, except that which the Village would have over any other business/organization seeking to build and operate within the Village boundaries (zoning, permits, etc).

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Does public network access mean ethernet ports to plug laptops into or does that just mean WiFi still?

Ideally, we will provide both a strong, stable WiFi signal throughout the building and tables/carrels with ethernet ports and power. It is a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) world. The most used tables/carrels in the library today are those with access to power and the best WiFi signal.

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Why is a staff shower room included?

Green design, particularly if the Library Board decides to pursue LEED certification, includes features like a shower room for staff to support bicycling to work. Exactly which green features to include and the final design will be done after a successful referendum. With the Schematic Building Program listing 77,000 sq ft of space, that final design process will include trade-offs or combining spaces, such as adding a shower stall to an accessible restroom.

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So many people say “the library is so much more than books”. Explain to me what I can get at the library that I can’t get on the Internet.

Plainfield Public Library District You can get hands on help and technology training. You can get access to online resources that are behind a pay wall otherwise. That includes eBooks, eAudiobooks, online magazines and downloadable and streaming music. You can borrow a Roku device with access to over 100 streaming movies. You can take online courses in coding and preparation classes for software and hardware certifications. You can get live homework help and college entrance exam test preparation classes and practice tests. But most of all, you get a place where you can connect with others and your community.

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Who paid for the pizza party to promote the library plan?

The Citizens for a 21st Century Library political action committee has met at a pizza restaurant in Plainfield. This political action committee is registered with the State of Illinois and completely independent of the Plainfield Public Library District.

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If the library portion of my taxes are going to almost double, how much are the rest of the taxing bodies going up?

The increase in your property taxes is capped by the Property Tax Extension and Limitation Law (PTELL), most commonly known as “the tax cap.” Under PTELL, the amount collected by a taxing body (village, school district, library district, etc.) can only increase by 5% or the CPI for the previous year, whichever is LESS. CPI for 2015, which will be the limit for the 2016 tax levy year, is 0.7%. Under PTELL, unless one of those taxing bodies passes a referendum, the increase is capped at 0.7%. This is an example of the kind of complex question you can get answered at your library that isn’t answered by a simple Internet search.

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Please tell us the ROI on this project with hard supporting evidence.

In 2015, the average resident received $5.72 in services for every dollar invested in the Library through property taxes. That average resident checked out 8.5 items, attended a program, asked a reference question and used a 43-minute session on a Library computer, an estimated value of $256.87 for an investment of $44.93.

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How will this project drive economic growth which will reduce the overall property tax burden while the bond is out for the next 20 years?

The American Library Association has compiled the impact research on the economic impact of libraries here: http://www.ala.org/research/librariesmatter/ Research shows that libraries do add value to neighborhoods. Cities like Chicago and San Francisco use new or renovated library branches to spur economic development and revitalization of neighborhoods.

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After the bond is paid off, what is the plan to sustain library operating budget ongoing without additional tax increases?

The proposed plan includes two questions on the ballot – the building bond and limiting rate increase for its operation. The limiting rate increase (about 1/4 of the total plan cost) is ongoing, while the bonds will be paid off in 20 years. The long term operation of the building is included in the proposed plan and cost estimates.

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