Mayor Rahm Emanuel wanted something different for the Chinatown community library. Mayor Emanuel yesterday joined Chicago Public Library Commissioner Brian Bannon, 25th Ward Alderman Danny Solis and many local residents today on the site of the new library to unveil the design concept for the new Chinatown Library Branch, according to a press release from the mayor's office.
Mayor Emanuel said that this "beautiful, modern design is a model for what a neighborhood library should be, and it is the latest success story in the new chapter we are writing at Chicago Public Library. Our libraries are anchors in our communities, and that is why we made a $66 million investment to build, expand and modernize our library system."
Mayor Emanuel's library commissioner, who replaced longtime librarian Mary Dempsey, “This new library continues to bring world-class design to Chicago’s neighborhoods while creating a community-specific building,” said Library Commissioner Brian Bannon. “This new branch will serve as a gateway to Chinatown, linking the old with the new, and provide a building that serves the modern Chinese immigrant as well as the long-time Chicago resident.”
The Chinatown Library Branch will open in 2015 and will replace a rental branch. The current library serves 21,000 patrons a month. Under the first-ever Design/Build Process for a neighborhood branch library, the Library and the Public Building Commission have selected Wight/SOM to design a building which reflects the history and culture of this important Chicago neighborhood, while providing a state-of-the-art library space for residents.
"The new Chinatown Branch library represents a new opportunity to further invigorate the Chinatown community," said 25th Ward Alderman Danny Solis. "It will create a new civic, educational and social hub for Chinatown, providing a place of discovery and learning in our new digital age."
Earlier this summer the Chicago Public Library and the Public Building Commission worked with members of the Chinatown community in visioning sessions to create design goals and a spatial program concept which was used in selecting the Design/Build team. That team and their conceptual design were approved at the PBC’s August Board meeting. Moving forward, CPL will gather community input regarding the functional elements and key program areas for the community will be considered as CPL and the design team finalize the building design.
"We involved the Chinatown community in this process from the very beginning," said PBC Executive Director Erin Lavin Cabonargi. "We will continue to work with the community to ensure the design embodies the positive energy of the vibrant community it serves."
The new branch will replace the current facility at 2353 S. Wentworth Ave, which is one of the busiest branches in the city and averaged approximately 21,000 visitors per month in 2012. The project is funded through the 24th/Michigan TIF District and is proposed for the site at 2100 S. Wentworth. The property is in the land acquisition phase.
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John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African American studies, published by The Elevator Group, Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books. John has volunteered for many political campaigns. John is an unpaid volunteer and social media advisor at Robin Kelly for Congress.