BAL on Facebook BAL on Twitter BAL YouTube Channel BAL Local History's photostream

Renovation News

After several months of study and consideration, the Barrington Area Library trustees unanimously voted to move forward on plans to renovate the 33-year-old library facility. The vote took place at the regularly scheduled board meeting on Monday, March 12, 2012.

On this page, we will post news about the project, progress updates, and photos of the work as it moves along.

May 28, 2014: The library reached another renovation milestone today, as the new Business & Technology Center opened on the first floor. The area is not fully complete, but presently includes small group study rooms, a computer lab, private Business Cubicles, and media:scape collaborative meeting rooms. Soon to come: a MakerLab, Digital Studio, and 10-person conference room. Stop by and take a tour around this new, comfortable, and highly functional space. Make it your new office-away-from-the-office.

The final phase of renovation will be the completion of meeting rooms A & B and the Zimmerman Room. We know the availability of meeting space is a high priority to the community, and we hope to make the rooms available to the public very soon. We are nearing the finish line!

April 24, 2014: Beginning around Tuesday, April 29, the DVD collections will be moved into their new, permanent home on the first floor. During the move, there will be times when only library staff will have access to the DVDs. If you're coming over for a movie, please allow some extra time for the staff to locate what you need.

During the following week, new furnishings will arrive for our new Business & Technology Center on the first floor as well.


April 18, 2014: The final phase is going as planned. The meeting rooms and our new Business and Technology Center are under construction. Roof repairs are also taking place. During the week of April 28, furnishings and fixtures will arrive for the Business and Technology Center. We also expect that the new Media Browsing area on the first floor will be finished, so DVDs will be moved out of the Zimmerman Room.

Looking for a quiet place to work or study? Try the new areas on the second floor. Lots of light, lots of quiet, comfortable space (and lots of outlets, too!).

Watch our progress - the end is in sight!


March 28, 2014: We are well into the fourth and final phase of our renovation project. Things are moving along quickly and we remain on schedule for the renovation to be complete some time in May 2014.

What is currently under construction?

The first floor meeting rooms are being completely remodeled. Rest assured, we will let you know as soon as meeting rooms can be booked for your club or organization.
New restrooms are being added to the atrium.
An Internet cafe will also be created in the library atrium.
The area next to Youth Services will become a media browsing collection (movies and music). The hold pick-up area will then be improved.
Beyond the media browsing area will be the new Business and Technology Centers.
When the DVD collections are moved out of the Zimmerman Room, it will also be completely renovated.
On the second floor, the Young Adult game room is just about ready.
The plastic will soon be removed from the Reading Commons, so visitors will have a nice view overlooking the atrium.
Additional work in the adult fiction/nonfiction area should be complete soon.
New signage for these areas will also arrive in coming weeks.


NEW - February 19, 2014: it's another busy week with lots of activity and some service disruption.

Some Adult Services computers have been moved to the second floor, temporarily housed in one of the study rooms.
Fewer PCs will be available during this time. Laptops will still be available for checkout.
The Media Lab equipment will no longer be available until our renovation project is complete. This is expected to take 1-3 months.

Adult fiction books are being moved up to the second floor.
Adult media (DVDs and music CDs) will be temporarily moved into the Zimmerman Room, on the library's mezzanine level. Take the elevator to floor 1R or use the new stair tower for easy access.

We'll keep you posted as progress continues.



February 4, 2014: As we prepare for renovation work in the library atrium, the temporary Customer Service Desk has been moved a little farther into the building. We're just around the corner, waiting to help you.

January 31, 2014: The library renovation project has moved into phase four and is on schedule for completion in May of 2014.

Around the week of February 17, expect more activity and occasional disruption.
The remaining books for adults will need to be moved into their new home on the second floor.
Adult computers will also be moved. There will be a period of time when the adult computing area will simply not be available. This includes the Media Lab computer and equipment.

In the coming weeks, the lobby entranceway will also be restructured as construction work begins in that part of the library. Be alert for "lane changes."


January 16, 2014: In addition to our new Youth Services department opening on the first floor, other changes have been taking place.

1) The automated check-in stations are back in service! We know how much you like knowing that your items are immediately checked in and being able to print a receipt.
2) The Hold Pick-Up Area has been moved back into the Circulation area, next to the Check-In stations.
3) New Books for adults and magazines have been moved up to the second floor. Take the stair tower or the elevator, and someone at the Reference Desk will be happy to help you.
4) A new Vending Cafe is available for your use, with a wide variety of snacks, plus hot and cold beverages.


January 15, 2014

Our new Youth Services department is open and waiting for you! After several years of planning and a few months of construction, the new department is now open on the first floor of the library. Prepare to be amazed at what you'll find: interactive, museum-quality learning experiences, computers and iPads, and, very soon, a gaming area and media lab just for younger users. Oh yes, and LOTS of books, too! Finishing touches are still being put in place, but stop by soon to explore and enjoy the new space.


January 8, 2014: our new Youth Services department will be arriving soon!

We hope you've been exploring and enjoying the new spaces we've opened up for you on the library's second floor.

From January 10-14, expect some disruption as we begin the move into our new Youth Services department on the first floor.

Shelves of books have to be tagged, packed and then moved. Furnishings, computers and other items have to be relocated. This means that there will be times when books, computers and other items for children and teens may not be available, or you will have to ask a staff person to retrieve items for you. Expect the biggest disruption on Monday, January 13, and Tuesday, January 14 - children's books, computers and iPads, and play areas will not be available on those days.

The good news? We will be waiting to welcome you into the wonderful new spaces we've created for children and teens on Wednesday, January 15. We thank you for your patience and we can't wait to show you around!



November 20, 2013: Good news - the elevator is back in service! We thank you for your patience as we waited for the repairs and then the inspection. We now have a safe and reliable way to transport you up to the second floor and back down again.

Librarian holding a stack of books smiles and waves from inside the new elevator



November 12, 2013: We continue to wait for a final inspection of the elevator. We appreciate your patience, as this step of the renovation project has taken considerably longer than anticipated. Rest assured we will reopen the elevator as soon as it has passed inspection and is safe for use.


October 2013: Phase Three has begun. Many changes, some temporary, some permanent, will be coming this month. As always, if you cannot find what you need here at the library, please ask someone for assistance.

What's changing?

1) The Circulation desk has been moved into the atrium. You can pick up items on hold right in the atrium.

2) The Circulation staff workroom has been temporarily relocated into Meeting Room B.

3) Items that were in Meeting Room B, like children's books and DVDs, are now available for checkout near the Popular Materials Desk on the first floor.

4) New restrooms (with some temporary fixtures) are open on both the first and second floors. Additional first floor restrooms will open later in the construction process. The current first floor restrooms may seem hard to find - keep in mind the bookshelves in that area will soon be moved away, and that group of restrooms will become part of the new Youth Services department.

5) The automatic check-in sorter will be temporarily shut down beginning Monday, October 7. Please return your library materials in the new drive-up outdoor return or the return box that has been placed in the atrium (or at any of our convenient drop boxes around town).

6) We expect the new elevator to be in service the week of Monday, October 14. The new stair tower should be in place around that time as well, but we do not have a firm deadline for either the elevator or new stair tower. The old staircase will be used until the new services are available.

7) During the week of October 14, the Adult Services Reference Desk will be moving to the second floor.

8) The Popular Materials Desk will remain on the first floor at this time, so Adult Services staff can assist patrons looking for fiction books, movies, music, magazines and computer assistance.

9) Adult non-fiction books and Young Adult fiction will be moved upstairs beginning October 16. Biographies and audiobooks will remain on the first floor at this time.

10) Beginning immediately, only Barrington Area Library cardholders may reserve computers from home.

11) Beginning October 15, no small group/study rooms will be available, until construction on the new rooms is complete. The online reservation system will not take reservations after October 14.



September 26, 2013: What's coming next?

We're about to move into Phase Three of our four-part construction project - we're really making progress!
Some big changes - some permanent, some temporary - will occur during Phase Three, starting in late September/early October 2013.

Watch for:

The Circulation desk to be moved into the lobby atrium.

Automatic check-in sorter to be temporarily shut down - return boxes will be placed in the Circulation area.

Circulation staff work area to be temporarily moved into Meeting Room B. This means the number of materials for browsing and checkout in the Meeting Room area will be reduced. Some items that have been in the Meeting Rooms will be located to other parts of the building.

New restrooms (with some temporary fixtures) to open on the first and second floors.

Temporarily reduced number of public computers and study rooms - we will provide more details about this ASAP.

We will do our best to keep you posted on these and other renovation developments when we have up-to-date information. Thank you for your patience as we work to provide the Barrington area with a truly 21st century library. When you're visiting us, please ask for help finding what you need.


September 17, 2013: You may have noticed a lot of construction activity at the front area of the building. What's going on?

1) Construction is underway on the new stair tower. This will replace the current stairway inside the building. The architecture of the new stair tower will blend in seamlessly with the look of our atrium entranceway, while locating the staircase in a less prominent part of the building. When renovation work moves into the atrium for awhile, the front entrance will be temporarily relocated, but when renovation is complete, the library's entrance will remain where it is currently located.

2) Additional digging and work is being done on a drainage pipe.

3) Our drive-up book and movie return is open and ready for business. Enhancements to this area continue: the X-tras outdoor sculpture has been moved near the new return and the ground has been seeded. Watch for a new light post coming soon, which will make returning materials after dark much more convenient.



UPDATE: August 12, 2013: The library's new drive-up return lane is now open! You'll find it in the main parking lot - make a left turn into the aisle closest to our entranceway, then make a right into the drive-up lane. Convenient, safe and a feature you have long requested!

UPDATE: August 5, 2013: Due to renovation, our elevator will be out of service for approximately 5 weeks. We apologize for this inconvenience. The elevator will be completely repaired as part of the renovation, and demolition work on that part of the building may also prevent access at various times. If you need assistance within the building because you cannot access the second floor at this time, please don't hesitate to ask anyone on our staff.

Good news - our drive-up return lane is coming this week! You'll find this convenient drive-up service located in the northeast side of our parking lot. Drive up, drop and go.



UPDATE: July 2013: Have you noticed the work going on in our parking lot? We're excited about it - that's where our new drive-up return box will be located! No more pulling up to the front of the building and having to leave your vehicle to return items. Just drive around to the large return box and you can place your items in it from the comfort of your car or SUV. Coming soon!



UPDATE: May 17, 2013: Occasionally, construction work will take place after hours or before our normal morning opening. We just want to make you aware of that, so if you see activity in the library during unusual times, you'll know that it's okay. Our construction team has been incredibly helpful by scheduling some of the noisiest work for times when the library is closed.


NEWS: May 6, 2013 construction update - Collections now located in the first floor meeting rooms include new books and DVDs for adults, new books, DVDs, award-winning books and graphic novels for kids and teens.

The restrooms on the second floor are now out of service, as construction has started on the second floor as well as the first floor.

The Media Lab is also closed, but the Media Lab equipment can still be used in the Adult Services computer area.


NEWS - April 23, 2013: Work began this morning to move certain parts of the library's collections into the first floor public meeting rooms. This frees up space in the main part of the library so demolition and construction may begin. Many staff offices will also be moved very soon. We are scheduling as much work as possible for the early morning hours, before the library hours, to keep disruptions to a minimum. Can't find what you're looking for the library? Please just ask. We're excited about bringing you a 21st century library!

NEWS - April 16, 2013: At a special Board meeting held on Monday, April 15, at 6 PM, the library's Board of Trustees voted to award contracts to the successful bidders, approve a total project cost of $8,769,557 and authorize the project to proceed into the construction phase. Library administration will begin meeting with the project's construction management team to plan for Phase I of the construction. Construction is expected to begin later this month.


March 6, 2013: Bid Notice for Construction Items

March 1, 2013: Bid Notice For Furnishings

Questions about the bidding process should be directed to:
Shales McNutt Construction
425 Renner Drive
Elgin, IL 60123
1-847-622-1214

Engberg Anderson, Inc.
320 East Buffalo Street, Suite 500
Milwaukee, WI 53202
1-414-944-9000


February 20, 2013: The Library's Board of Trustees held a special meeting and voted to move forward with the bidding phase of the renovation project. Bidding will take place in March 2013, with bids to be approved at special Board meeting in April 2013 (date/time TBD). Details about the bidding process will be posted here as soon as they are finalized.

-->