Library Capital Improvement Project



Why This Project and Why Now?

Built in 1931, the Library building has served Lake Forest residents well for decades. It is a beloved informational and cultural resource with outstanding art and architectural elements. However, time has taken a toll:

  • The building’s infrastructure is aging, which limits library functionality and occupies staff time that would be better spent serving the public.

  • There have been intermittent renovations in the building's nearly 90-year lifespan, resulting in areas that are difficult to navigate and do not address the need for improved accessibility.

  • The Lake Forest community's expectations of modern libraries have outpaced the capacities of the building, which lacks adequate and flexible space to support the level of library materials, programs, services, and meeting rooms that are expected of a high-functioning library today and into the future.

These limitations severely restrict the Library's ability to fulfill its mission and to continue serving the Lake Forest community with excellence.

Next Steps

At the October 19, 2020, City Council meeting, the Council will hear an introductory presentation from the Lake Forest Library. Library Board members, consultants, and staff will present an overview of the work completed to date in planning for the future of the Library. The City Council will hear about the vision for the Library going forward.

  • What types of services and programs will be offered?
  • Who will the Library serve?
  • What facilities and amenities will be needed to meet future needs?
  • What repairs, upgrades and restoration work is needed to preserve and protect the original Library building?
  • What opportunities are there for collaboration and coordination with other entities in the community?

The Council will ask questions, challenge current assumptions and offer input to help guide the Library’s planning process.

Looking ahead, beyond the October 19th City Council meeting, any changes to the historic Library building will require review by the City’s Historic Preservation Commission at a public hearing. The City Council will discuss how and whether the City may be able to offer financial support for the Library taking into consideration the other capital needs throughout the community.

Stay Informed

The Library Board's work with HGA and The Hodge Group is conducted at special or regular board meetings that are open to the public. See

Overview of Project to date

Read the Full Timeline in the Executive Summary



May: Library Board implemented new operational strategy



May: Community Assessment completed

September: Library Board adopted new mission statement and new Strategic Plan

November: RFQ for Architectural Services issued

November: Dome wrapped to protect murals and library interior



March: Retained HGA, Inc., architectural and engineering firm

April: HGA facilitated community and staff forums

September: HGA delivered feasibility study

September: Library issued RFP for capital campaign counsel

October: Library updated City Council

November: City advised Library to hold and enter triage period

December: Dome wrapped a second time to protect murals and library interior



January: HGA delivered dome restoration report

January: Elevator service restored after four months

March: Redesign of Phase 2 of McKinley Road Development impacts Library’s potential expansion parcel

June: Updated the Mayor and City Administrators on Capital Improvement Project

August: Retained The Hodge Group (THG) as capital campaign counsel

November–December: THG interviewed philanthropic community

December: Incorporated The Lake Forest Library Foundation and filed for 501(c)(3) status



January–February: THG interviewed philanthropic community and City Government

March: THG delivered feasibility report on philanthropic and government support

April: Building program assessment completed

April: Annual report shared with City Council and City Administrators

April: IRS awarded 501(c)(3) status to The Lake Forest Library Foundation

June: Annual report shared with stakeholders

April–August: Library Board and HGA work through pre-design and program study phase

July–August: Seat the Board of The Lake Forest Library Foundation

July–August: HGA, Library, City Administration, and HPC/Lake Forest Preservation Foundation hold subcommittee meetings

October: Introductory presentation to City Council at the Council's meeting on October 19


Read the Full Timeline in the Executive Summary


Comments Welcome

We appreciate your interest in the Library Capital Improvement Project.
Please also subscribe me to the monthly Library eNews
Preferred contact
Topic you are commenting on