CIP Update: Summer 2021

Posted May 15, 2021.

Thank you to everyone who attended the Capital Improvement  Project Public Listening Sessions with Lake Forest Library and HGA Architects. We appreciated your open minds as we presented on the project work completed to date and your meaningful comments on your hopes and dreams for the Library. To view recordings of the sessions, visit

We were also grateful for the opportunity to clear up misunderstandings in the community. We assure you that:

  • Current plans and renderings were not intended to be final versions, simply working documents. That has caused some confusion in the community. We hope that the listening sessions and our ongoing efforts to clarify the scope and progress of the project will alleviate some of that uncertainty. For accurate information, please always refer to Library publications and contact the Library Board and Director with your questions and concerns. A contact form is also available at
  • The restored 1931 building will continue to be an integral part of library service delivery. With the proposed restoration of the historic central walkway and the decluttering of the Foyer and Rotunda, the front entrance will remain the welcoming face of the Library.
  • The Library is evaluating moving the Children’s Library out of the basement, adding enhanced technology and creative spaces, and modifying its current meeting rooms to create flexible spaces with storage and hearing loops, in addition to addressing ADA and infrastructure issues. If space and budget permit, we would like to add one 10–12 person and four 2–4 person collaboration rooms to isolate sound and accommodate individual users and small groups that already use the Library.

We are still ascertaining exactly what services the community wants from the Library, and we hope you’ll take the time to complete a community survey that will be sent out in the future. The project continues to evolve and recalibrate based on community input, and we can’t overstate how much every voice matters.

Some of Your Comments

You just have a really, really hard job. I believe you have a lot of different audiences you’re trying to appease, as well as focus on making the right recommendations.

Regarding the plans for restoration, there are really a number of very positive aspects that you’ve outlined for the plan that are really long overdue:

  • Restoration and repair of the dome is critical.
  • Removal of the 1970s additions is a great idea.
  • Bringing back the walkway from the sidewalk to the front entrance, is an exciting reintroduction of an original element to the property.
  • Additionally, there are other things that make sense, like moving the Children’s Library from the basement upstairs and the overall modernization of the facility and the systems.

So the thoughtful restoration of the building is important because this is one of our most architecturally significant buildings in the community.

Technology isn’t natural to me, that’s why I need classes, so I can do what needs to be done on computers nowadays. I also like the idea of a drive-up/pick-up window so we don’t need to look for parking.

Please can you add a Maker's Lab with a 3D printer and other tools/machines? This is a great STEM activity and has been a trend of other libraries in the area. This guaranteed would keep my family visiting the Library often for years to come!

I have used the Media Lab to digitize my VHS tapes and to create logos for local organizations, something that when I discovered it, I could not believe how useful it was.

I have two kids and I have never really explored the entire Library building, because when I come there, I am with my children. I’m glad that the shelves will be shortened, because then I can see my children. I never actually sit down when I’m at the Library, because I am chasing them to make sure they’re not going out various exits. I know the librarians do a nice job of trying to bring some books down for adults to look at, but I would love it if there was a way that I could actually be browsing and my kids could be browsing and I didn’t have to wonder if my six year old is trying to take the elevator and if my other kid is escaping out the front entry. I love that you want to bring more light into that section, because it does feel a little bit dark in there sometimes. I like the idea of having more space for the kids to sit and read and just enjoy the resources, like a clubhouse or beanbag room where they can snuggle with a book.

I love getting the newsletter and seeing what programs there are, and I highlight them and I make sure I sign up because I know that they’re going to be popular and they’re often sold out, so I definitely know that there is a need for more meeting space and I do encourage that, along with the need for the warmth and viability and accessibility.

One of the most wonderful things that I think all of us appreciate about the Library is its feeling as you walk in the door. I really want to see the entire renovated building have that same incredible warmth that our current Library has.

The Lake Forest Library Foundation

The Lake Forest Library Foundation is preparing to solicit philanthropic support for the Library’s proposed Capital Improvement Project. As part of a public‑private partnership, the Foundation is committed to implementing a comprehensive, holistic solution for the Library that fits the needs of the community. We look forward to working toward that goal with the City of Lake Forest, the Historic Preservation Commission, and the Library.

We welcome and encourage your participation in the upcoming community survey. The Foundation stands ready to support the community, should it decide to move forward with renovating and expanding the current Library building.
Early success on the part of the Foundation from a handful of donors has yielded committed funds of $2,200,000 (notably including an $800,000 pledge from the Friends of Lake Forest Library), should the project be approved by City Council.

Regardless of the outcome of this project, the Foundation will provide ongoing support for the Library Board now and in the future, as well as to the Friends of Lake Forest Library.

For more information about the Foundation, please visit