Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Library Commissioner Brian Bannon, 39th Ward Alderman Margaret Laurino, State Representative Steve D’Amico, and State Senator Iris Martinez broke ground on the new Albany Park Branch of the Chicago Public Library (CPL) on Friday, August 30, 2013. It is being built on the site of the old Albany Park Branch Library at 5150 North Kimball Avenue, at the southwest corner of Kimball Avenue and Foster Avenue.
The architect of record is Jackson Harlan, LLC. They have Contract Number 1930. The Architect’s Fee is $768,650.00, allocated between $14,500.00 for Site Preparation and $750,150.00 for Design-Engineering of the Building.
The general contractor is Wight Construction Services, of which Ken Osmun is the Group President. They have Contract Number C1550.
The Construction Budget is $7,100,000.00. This excludes the Contract Contingency of $300,000.00.
Although the new library will rise on the site of the old one, the Public Building Commission (PBC) of Chicago states on its Web site and in Contract Number 1930 it will have a new address, 3401 West Foster Avenue.
There is some discrepancy between the City of Chicago’s statement it will be 16,300 square feet and the PBC of Chicago’s statement it will be 16,500 square feet. In a press release, the City of Chicago stated, “The 16,300-square-foot branch will be nearly 6,000 square feel [sic] larger than the previous library, which served the community for 50 years.”
The PBC of Chicago stated on its Web site, “Based on the Prototype A design, this new 16,500-square-foot, one story full service branch library is proposed to replace the existing Albany Park Branch Library on same site as existing library plus acquisition of adjacent parcel to the west." This is also how large the PBC of Chicago states the Albany Park Library will be in Contract Number C1550. One possible explanation for the discrepancy would be that the PBC of Chicago was referring to the total size of the building and the City of Chicago was referring to the amount of space the public will be able to access.
While the new branch is under construction, Albany Park residents may use a CPL Bookmobile. Albany Park Bookmobile service entails a stop in the North Park University Parking Lot at 5151 North Kimball Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60625.
The CPL Bookmobile is there from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays; and from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays; but it is not there at all on Fridays and Sundays.
The City of Chicago is leasing this space in the parking lot for $1 for a term extending through December 31, 2014. "The Book Mobile will provide residents with essential library services right in their neighborhood until the completion of the new Albany Park library," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel in July when he proposed the passage of an ordinance to authorize the City of Chicago to lease this space.
Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) has extended borrowing privileges to neighborhood residents and is providing “a room for meetings of the adult reading group,” the City of Chicago stated in a press release. The CPL stated, “The branch’s Teacher in the Library program has been relocated to the North Park Covenant Church.”
Alternatively, the CPL recommends they use the Budlong Woods Branch Library, located at 5630 North Lincoln Avenue; the Independence Branch Library, to the south, located at 3548 West Irving Park Road; the Mayfair Branch Library, to the southwest, located at 4400 West Lawrence Avenue; or the Conrad Sulzer Regional Library, to the southeast, located at 4455 North Lincoln Avenue.
The Edgebrook Branch Library and the Jefferson Park Branch Library are also in the vicinity. The new Edgebrook Branch Library, which opened this year, is to the northwest, at 5426 West Devon Avenue. The Jefferson Park Branch Library is to the west/southwest, at 5363 West Lawrence Avenue.
The neighborhoods of Albany Park, Mayfair, North Mayfair, and Ravenswood Manor lie within the Albany Park Community Area, which is #14 on a community area map of Chicago. Oddly enough, the Albany Park Branch Library is in neither the Albany Park neighborhood nor the Albany Park Community Area. Instead, it is in the North Park Community Area, like Northeastern Illinois University and North Park University. The PBC of Chicago acknowledges that the library is located in North Park on its Web site. The only branch library in the Albany Park Community Area is the Mayfair Branch Library.
The Budlong Woods Branch Library is in the West Ridge Community Area, as is the Northtown Branch Library at 5630 North Lincoln Avenue. The Independence Branch Library is in the Irving Park Community Area. The Sulzer Regional Library is in the Lincoln Square Community Area.
The Edgebrook Branch Library is in the Forest Glen Community Area. Just as the Albany Park Branch Library is not in Albany Park, the Jefferson Park Branch Library is not in Jefferson Park, it is in the Portage Park Community Area.