Bloomington Public Library to receive $5.68 million grant for expansion

Digital Originals

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — The Bloomington Public Library was awarded a $5.68 million Public Library Construction Act Grant from the Illinois State Library for an expansion and renovation project, set to break ground in April 2022.

The grant comes after the library received more than $15 million in matching funds by the end of the state’s fiscal year.

On Monday, Dec. 13, the Bloomington City Council will vote to accept or reject the proposed 2022 property tax levy, including funds for the first year’s repayment of the bond.

The construction plans include adding more than 20,000 square feet to the library’s current footprint and renovating 57,394 square feet of existing space.

The library’s current building was built in 1976 for a population of 41,000 people, but since then, the population has grown 92%, with only one expansion since, increasing its space by 24%.

Among the project’s highlights is the addition of a permanent drive-up window, three large meeting spaces available to the public with a reservation, two children’s programming rooms, a computer lab, a maker lab focusing on hands-on STEAM trade skills, an increase of available study spaces from one room to nine rooms, and two recording studios.

“When all is said and done, and the project has reached completion, it is likely that the library will be able to repay the bond at a quicker pace than would have been possible without these grant funds,” said Library Director Jeanne Hamilton.

The project is expected to take 16 months to complete and should be ready in August 2023.

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