The Joliet Public Library has announced that Project Burnham, the library’s plan for the renovation of the interior of its Ottawa Street Branch at 150 North Ottawa Street, will be funded through library reserves and new state capital funding.

In collaboration with State Senator Pat McGuire and the Rebuild Illinois Community Development Initiative, the bulk of the renovations will be paid through a state grant and not Joliet property taxes. Though the City will need to sell bonds to pay for upfront construction costs, these will be paid off by State funds as they become available through the grant program.  The rest of the funding will come from $4 million in library reserves, for a total project cost of $10.5 million.

The focus of the renovation is to provide the Joliet community with updated library spaces and improved access to library resources:

  • Adding a discovery zone destination for children to encourage creative play and learning

  • Creating individual or collaborative study spaces. Currently the Ottawa Street Branch has no private study rooms or designated quiet areas.

  • Explore and improve digital media and maker capacities as our services (such as 3D printing, T-shirt printing and technology classes) continue to grow

  • Creating better access to technology and resources, including adding more power outlets and space for new technologies

  • Opening up the Chicago Street Entrance for convenient public access

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the library project is still proceeding nearly on schedule. Construction is expected to start in 2021. The library is planning to keep its doors open during construction unless it becomes an issue of public/staff safety or access.