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Arlington Heights Village, Library Meeting Over Possible Makerspace at Original Library

Tue January 22 2019 9:09 pm
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The Arlington Heights Memorial Library and the Village of Arlington Heights are in the process of discussing the future of real estate located at 112. N. Belmont Ave., Arlington Heights, the site of the former Arlington Heights Teen Center. The property is currently owned by the Village, but the Arlington Heights Memorial Library is interested in using the building as a makerspace — a space that offers library patrons an opportunity to create intellectual and physical materials using resources such as computers, 3-D printers, audio and video capture and editing tools, and traditional arts and crafts supplies. In library operations, makerspaces are already classified as a type of library service offered to patrons.

Originally a public library, the building has 8,000 square feet of space on two floors. It is fully accessible (with elevator) and is located across from Recreation Park at the southwest corner of Belmont and Miner Street, and only a few blocks from the library.

An informational meeting with officials from both the library and the Village is scheduled for Wednesday, February 6, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. in the Buechner Room, located on the first floor of Village Hall, 33 S. Arlington Heights Road. The meeting will provide residents the opportunity to learn more about the potential project, ask questions and provide feedback.

Click here [PUBLIC NOTICE PDF] to view the public notice regarding the meeting.

The Village purchased the former library property in 1994 to run as a Teen Center. However the Teen Center ceased operation in 2010. From 2011 – 2017, the building was leased to Campus Life that also used the building as a Teen Center. After the tenant left, the Village pursued any outside entities that might interest in the former Teen Center as it was no longer needed for core Village services. A neighborhood meeting was also held where a majority of those attending expressed a desire to see the existing building retained and re-used.

Last year, the library expressed its interest to the Village in transferring ownership of the building. Part of the process in the sale or transfer of real estate involves checking with other Village government organizations to see if they are interested in purchasing the property.

The building was the first stand-alone library in Arlington Heights. Given the library’s history with the building and the desire to add a makerspace as noted in the library’s 2019-2022 strategic plan, the library is exploring the possibility of acquiring the property with an agreement that would benefit the community through contributions from both the Village and the library. Terms of the agreement are being discussed.

The library is considering the building to house a makerspace that would offer opportunities for hands-on experiential STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) learning for all ages, with technology and creative equipment and supplies for use. Makerspaces typically offer tools such as laser cutters, 3D printers, embroidery, quilting and sewing machines, and computers for coding and programming small robots. The makerspace would allow people to use equipment they may not have the resources or space to own.

Other communities with existing library makerspaces include: Algonquin, Aurora, Barrington, Elk Grove, Elmhurst, Grayslake, Lake Zurich, Naperville, Northbrook, Wheeling, and Winnetka.

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