Library Capital Improvement Project



CIP Overview

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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.

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

CIP News

Lake Forest Library Foundation

The Lake Forest Library Foundation creates an endowment

Posted November 15, 2021. A Generous Past and an Enduring Future for Lake Forest Library Lake Forest Library was built on philanthropy. By providing the funding for the construction of the 1931 building, Mrs. Charles H. Schweppe and Mrs. Stanley Keith gave generously in support of community lite...

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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


January–current: The Lake Forest Library Foundation commences philanthropic work

March: Update presentation to City Council at the Council's meeting on March 15

April: Public Listening Sessions held online over four days (recordings available to view on this page and the Library's YouTube channel)

May–June: Community Perception Poll conducted by Burges & Burges with results reported at the July 13, 2021, Library Board meeting

July: Formation of Library Board Building Committee, led by Board Vice President Bryan Bertola and Trustee Heather Strong.

August: Library Board prioritizes the dome and rotunda as a first step of the Capital Improvement Project

September: Library Board announces a Request for Qualifications for repair and restoration of the dome and interior rotunda, Phase One of the Capital Improvement Project. See RFQ at

Read the Full Timeline in the Executive Summary

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What We Know

Jump to: CIP Overview & Feedback

The Library will remain at the 360 East Deerpath Road location based on community input. The Library will undergo a significant renovation, addressing the aging and obsolete infrastructure, as well as the significant ADA challenges, in the existing 1931 Edwin Clark building, and deliver new flexible spaces for library uses. The architect for the project is HGA, Inc.


The renovation will:

  • Deliver flexible space that accommodates different groups at different times of the day.
  • Relocate the Children's Library out of the basement providing open sight lines, natural light, appropriate height shelving, and interactive spaces for children and caregivers.
  • Provide an enhanced Teen Library with dedicated collections, resources, and librarian support.
  • Transform the current media lab into a creative space focused on collaboration, exploration, and sparking the imagination for patrons of all ages.
  • Retain the reserve and quiet of the historic areas and progressively become active as the patron moves past the historic Rotunda to a flexible marketplace space equipped with shelving for new and high-interest items, self-check kiosks, self-serve holds pickup, and scattered conversation areas.
  • Refurbish the Reed Room with flexible furniture, technology, and storage to enhance its use as a meeting space.
  • Enhance the Kasian Room with a blend of flexible furniture, writable surfaces, technology, and attached storage for programs, classes, and tutoring spaces.
  • Refurbish the quiet reading room on the first floor with flexible period-appropriate furniture that replaces the current unwieldy and inflexible furniture continuing its tradition as a quiet reading room. The new furniture will enable the layout of the space to flex/adjust for small readings and author events.
  • House the adult print collection on appropriate height shelving and intersperse seating and tables for quiet study.
  • Refurbish the original lobby with flexible seating to encourage community engagement and conversation.
  • Install hearing loops in the meeting spaces.
  • Deliver contactless self-service check options and sufficient internet bandwidth.
  • Evaluate and include when practical sustainability features.
  • Be undertaken with an awareness of other services and options in the community to avoid replication of services. The renovation does not include an auditorium, catering kitchen, reception spaces, or performance stage.

Interior Accessibility

The renovation will deliver a fully ADA compliant facility, addressing the Library’s current ADA issues with the elevator, restrooms, walkways, doorways, staircases, aisle widths, seating, service desks, shelving heights, outdoor space access points. Design elements will be responsive to individuals with physical and mental challenges and differences. 


The exterior renovation of the north wing will be done in a manner sympathetic to the original 1931 building.

The new site plan:

  • Envisions the addition of ADA compliant parking conveniently located near a new accessible entrance in the north addition.
  • Reverses the current traffic flow for pedestrian safety and more convenient return of materials.
  • Anticipates additional parking spaces.
  • Does not adversely impact on the Library's front lawn.


  • The administrative offices will be relocated to the lower level to allocate the higher quality first floor space to patron use.
  • Other office spaces will be consolidated for better workflow and collaboration.
  • Implementation of new materials handling technology will create more efficient workflows.

Infrastructure & Systems

  • The historic leaded copper dome and substructure will be replaced and the brick and limestone pedestal stabilized.
  • New mechanicals will replace aging non-ADA compliant elevator, consolidate five separate HVAC systems into one modern efficient system, and upgrade electrical and plumbing.
  • Updated HVAC systems will deliver life safety measures to meet post-pandemic era needs.
  • Roof, foundation, and exterior brick water infiltration issues will be addressed.


  • The Library Capital Improvement Project is a private/public partnership.
  • The Lake Forest Library Foundation was created to raise private philanthropic funds to complete the capital improvement project and establish an endowment to ensure the Library for future generations. The Foundation Board is Diana Terlato, President, Mark Saran, Vice President, L. Robert Pasquesi, Treasurer, Debbie Saran, Director, and Germaine Arnson, Secretary and representative to the Library Board. The capital campaign counsel is The Hodge Group.