The new state-of-the-art 98,000 sf Aurora Public Library, designed by Cordogan Clark & Associates, is an important new civic destination for culture and entertainment, and a gathering point for the entire community. It features state-of-the-art materials handling technology; expanded space for children and youth services; meeting rooms and quiet study rooms; a dedicated space for experimentation with new technology; and areas for the public to gather. It provides space for the arts, humanities, performances, and historical exhibits. Its flexible design adapts easily to changing needs and technologies. It serves as the hub of a digital library network whose integrated technology systems enhance capabilities of current branch libraries, school libraries throughout the city, and two proposed satellite facilities. Its LIFE (“Learning in an Informal and Fun Environment”) Teen Center provides technology tools for educational institutions to teach students about careers in science, math, and technology: It provides tablets, educational software, music and broadcasting equipment and other emerging technologies to help students excel. Key features include advanced technology; public internet / computer training; quiet reading areas; study/program rooms for small and large groups; space for teens, youth, and preschool patrons; and a drive-up window. As a LEED-certified building, it is designed to reduce waste, conserve energy and water, and lower operating costs. The downtown Library, which serves more than 500,000 patrons each year, had exhausted its current building. The new library parallels other improvements to downtown Aurora's infrastructure, such as the new River's Edge Park and Waubonsee Community College’s downtown Campus expansion. The Aurora Public Library Board of Directors and Administration have been planning for a new downtown library for more than 10 years. Its Carnegie library building was constructed in 1904 and underwent major remodeling project in 1942 and received a new addition in 1969. It had extensive structural and technological issues. After more than 100 years, Aurora was in need of a new flexible library design to accommodate ongoing technological advances as well as Aurora’s growing population as the State’s second largest city. As architects and engineers for the new library, Cordogan Clark & Associates facilitated the planning process, coordinating public meetings and providing preliminary design illustrations and estimated costs of construction with substantial input from a Citizens Advisory Group, Technology Committee, City Council members, School District Administrators, the public, library staff, and others. R. C. Wegman was the Construction Manager and General Contractor for the library. The keywords of the new library are “flexibility” and “technology,” according to Library Executive Director Eva Luckinbill, who added that “a flexible design will allow the library to grow and adapt to whatever the educational and informational needs of the community are in the years ahead.
“The explosion of technological advances requires nimbleness in library services to meet the needs of a learning community,” Luckinbill added. “The library embraces the Aurora Early Literacy Council mission, the SPARK (Strong, Prepared and Ready for Kindergarten) program and the recently announced Pathways to Prosperity program. The creation of spaces within the new building to support and enhance these initiatives is of utmost importance.”
The new Main Library will feature state-of-the-art materials handling technology, expanded space for programs for children and teens, a dedicated space for experimentation with new technology, and areas for the public to gather. As a LEED-certified building, it has been designed to reduce waste, conserve energy and water and lower operating costs.
“This is going to make a major impact on changing the fabric and character of the downtown,” said Library Board President John Savage, adding that national statistics show dramatic increases in patron use in the first three years after a library is built. “We have seen a genesis of a cultural focus in the downtown, and we are excited to be part of that.”