Tuesday, June 10, 2014

1914 Carnegie Library, Aurora, Illinois

[LIB11074] - On October 15, 1900, Dr. William A. Colledge, pastor of the People’s Church and president of the library board, penned a letter that would shape the Aurora Public Library for more than a century.

The letter was written to none other than Andrew Carnegie, the steel magnate, who was using his vast fortune to build libraries throughout the English-speaking world. In that letter, Dr. Colledge told of how the existing building was not large enough for the city’s fast-growing population, and he asked the great philanthropist for a new library building for Aurora.

Months passed without a response, but in January, 1901, the reply came. Mr. Carnegie would give $50,000 if the city obtained a site for the building and if the library tax would be continued. [Website]

The new, 92,000-square-foot Main Library will be built on the corner of River and Benton streets on a parcel of land that was purchased by the library in 2009. The firm of Cordogan Clark & Associates was chosen as the architectural firm for the project in 2010. Joining that firm on the project are R.C. Wegman Construction Company as the construction management firm, Schoppe Design Associates as the landscape architect and KDI Design Interiors as the interior design firm.

The current Main Library opened in 1904 and was built with a $50,000 grant from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. The building, located on Stolp Island, was expanded in 1969.

Once the new building is completed, it is the intent of the library board to sell the current library building. The City of Aurora has the first right of refusal to purchase the property.

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