mc library renovation soon

Wednesday, January 24, 2018 16:09 PM
Written by Stan Maddux
Category: Local News

The library in Michigan City with its unique translucent fiberglass exterior was designed by a world renowned architect to be a crown jewel in the downtown.

A $1.6 million renovation will begin in February but nothing on the outside allowing for plenty of natural lighting during the day and a soft glow to radiate from the inside at night will be touched.

''This is all an indoor thing,'' said Robin Kohn, public relations director for the Michigan City Public Library.

Kohn said the work on the 1977 structure will be done in phases over a three-year period to minimize disruption.

The cost is being paid for with money saved over the years and other resources without borrowing, she said.

The youth services department will be transformed first with things like new carpeting and the library's first ever Makerspace.

Kids can put their creativity to a test doing crafts and exploring different ways of making things in Makerspaces, one of the trends nowadays at libraries.

The reference area in 2019 will see more computers and plug-ins for cellphones and other devices.

Additional study and meeting rooms and upgrades to the electrical and data dropping systems are included in next year's work, Kohn said.

An easier to navigate front entranceway into the circulation area is on tap for 2020.

''We're trying to stay relevant and meet the needs of the community,'' she said.

The 35,000 square foot structure was designed by Helmut Jahn, whose signature in steel and glass includes the United Airlines terminal at O'Hare Airport and the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library at the University of Chicago.

Much of that library is below the ground with a see through dome at the top.

Kohn said construction of the Michigan City library was finished three-years after the now 78-year old German-born Jahn began designing it.

''It was a bit ahead of its time,'' she said.