“Are libraries really relevant in the digital age?” Lightfoot asked at the library’s rededication ceremony. “Now more than ever, and I knew that as part of our reopening, one of the most important things we could do is bring libraries back online because of the central role and trusted role they play.”
The John M. Merlo Branch Library, formerly known as the Lake View Branch, was first constructed in 1942 and designed by City Architect Paul Gerhardt. As a minimalist, neighborhood library, the building prioritized ample daylight with generous ribbon windows accentuated by a limestone sculptural frieze marking the pedestrian-friendly entry. Ross Barney Architects partnered with the City of Chicago for a renovation that aimed to highlight and revitalize the historic features of the building while also creating an equitable experience for all patrons. This included the removal of the glass atrium addition that was added in the 1980’s.
The new library represents its’ diverse community, welcoming all library visitors via tailored spaces for community events and group meetings, digital training, gaming and coding, children programming, social services outreach, as well as individual and group study. In addition, the library stacks and furniture accentuate flexibility and adaptability to organically grow for years to come.
Read more about the opening at blockclubchicago.org.