• Paula Krapf

We’ve broken ground for the new library!

Representatives from Independent Construction Services, StudioGC architects, Geneva Public Library Board of Trustees, IHC Construction Companies LLC, and Geneva Public Library administration break ground for the new library at a ceremony July 27, 2018

More than 200 members of the community celebrated with Geneva Public Library at a groundbreaking ceremony for the new library on July 27.

"On behalf of the Library Board of Trustees, I would like to thank you all for attending today’s event, an important milestone on our journey to a new library,” said Library Board President Bob Shiffler. “When we reach the end of this journey later next year, this block will be the site of a new library facility where the community can gather and that will support life-long learning in an ever-changing environment, all while making it more convenient to visit and accessible for all to use."

Library Board President Bob Shiffler

The ceremony included representatives from Yes Geneva Library, the citizen's group that worked to pass the referendum to obtain funds needed to build the new facility, Geneva Park District, the City of Geneva, the Geneva Chamber of Commerce & Tourism, Geneva School District, the local business community, Library board and staff, members of Friends of Geneva Library and Geneva Library Foundation, and many loyal Library users.

Additional attendees included several Studio GC staff who have guided the Library through the project, and reps from IHC Construction Companies LLC, who will build the new facility. And thank you to Cocoa Bean Fine Desserts & Bakery for providing refreshments.

“We will break ground today, construction of a new facility will begin, and yet only time will tell where we will go,” said Library Director Christine Lazaris. “We are embarking on something really special. Something more special than we can even dream of or plan for. Something that is sure to be transformative.”

She continued, “Our Library is not transactional, it is transformative. Books take us on a journey, audiobooks turn commutes into adventures, tinkering fosters creativity, access equals opportunity, education empowers, and learning never ends. So yes, libraries transform, and how thrilling it is to start a new chapter in our history together.”

Library Director Christine Lazaris

In his remarks, City of Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns said, “In my opinion libraries have always been, are and always will be America’s original and most valuable social networking sites. The place where we find answers to yesterday’s, today's and tomorrow’s most complex and common questions. Where we research, recharge, relax connect and…disconnect when necessary.”

Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns

What’s next? As soon as the Library obtains a building permit from the city – which is expected any day now – construction will begin. The goal is to open the new facility in 2019. The Library’s new address will be 227 S. Seventh St.

The new library project underwent review by city agencies earlier this year. Geneva City Council unanimously approved the Library's application to build a new facility at their April 2 meeting.

The plans were approved by Geneva Plan Commission unanimously March 8. The Historic Preservation Commission had considered the Library's proposal on Dec. 19, 2017 and provided recommendations to the Plan Commission regarding the character of the development, yard setbacks, landscape features, and building scale.

What will the new library feature? The 57,000-square-foot building will have 76 off-street parking spaces, drive-up convenience, a variety of meeting areas, a community art gallery, and outdoor reading spaces.

  • The Library will feature an enhanced children’s area with developmentally appropriate collections, play areas, and learning opportunities for children from birth through eighth grade.

  • Teens and adults will have access to a variety of library materials and enjoy spending time in the quiet reading and study spaces.

  • Additionally, Library service will be expanded to include new opportunities for collaborating, using technology, and experimenting in lab spaces.

What will happen to the park on the site? The current playground will be taken down the first week of August to accommodate construction. Library officials are working with Park District officials to develop plans for a new playground at the corner of Sixth and Franklin. The Park District will also engage in a public process to seek input.

When will the new library open? The goal is a prospective opening date in mid-year 2019.

Where can I learn more? Visit for additional coverage of the groundbreaking ceremony, along with a comprehensive overview of the plans for the new library and regular updates on progress. Please contact us anytime at



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