It is not just about books, it is about community

Huntley Public Library fully opens its doors for the first time in 2 months

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M. Mize

Huntley Library’s new teen hideout offers comfy and conventional seating.

Mackx Mize

For the last couple of months, when the people of Huntley have driven past their local library, their minds have been filled with questions of what the finished design will look like. On Feb. 7 however, the questioning stopped. The Huntley Area Public Library announced that they were ready to fully open their doors and allow the public to see the new improvements. The wait is finally over, and not disappointing in the slightest. 

From the outside, the library looks fairly similar to its original design, with the only exception to the extended entrance and the additional wing added onto the side. You can still recognize it by the white paneling and beige brick, complementing the wide windows framing the building nicely. Inside though, it’s barely recognizable to the old layout and design. 

The tall ceiling that was once lit with strips of fluorescent lights, is now lit up with huge ring lights, adding a subtle modern and decorative feel. 

The information center that was right across from the main entrance in the old layout, has shifted all the way over to the back wall, right in the middle of the vast room you have walked into. 

Freshman Emma Godlewski took advantage of the library’s grand opening but had no idea what to expect.

“I walked in and gasped,” Godlewski said. “It looked so different but definitely very modernized. I love it.” 

Godlewski was not the only one with this reaction though. Many people who walk into the library for the first time can only help but stop and stare at how beautifully different everything is.

“It’s awesome,” junior Elaina Hibbler said.  “I definitely like the teen area the best.”

And the teen area in question is pretty awesome. Not only does it have a gaming room that will soon include a PS5 and Xbox in March, but it also has all the young adult books in its own section as well as two collaboration rooms that can be reserved on the library’s website. Each room has the capacity for four individuals with access to a television that can be screencasted to as well as a whiteboard for planning and pitching ideas. The teen section also has its own lounge area that can be used for studying or reading and has a variety of comfortable seating and tables for work. 

In the same area, you will find a recording studio. Although this room is not expected to be in use until March, some of the equipment in the process of being set up includes a soundboard and a green screen. 

Next to the recording studio is a bigger collaboration room with a capacity of up to 10 people. It has a long table in its center with a big television in the front of the room. Set up like a conference room, it has cameras on the wall that can get an around-the-room view, making it accessible for those on Zoom and other video calling sites to see around the room as well. 

The library also has a creative studio, which will be expecting four 3D printers, two sewing machines, audio and video equipment, and laminators to fill this room as well as the creative minds of Huntley. 

Doug Cataldo, Head of Marketing at the Huntley Library says that he is a huge fan of this room because of all the opportunities there are to learn new things. 

“That whole renovated wing brings things to the community that, not only did they ask for, but that are new to us and to the community, and [now] accessible to people who are curious,” Cataldo said. 

The library also has its own computer lab, complete with a copier machine, fax machine, and printers that print in color ($0.50 a page) and black and white ($0.10 a page). 

Finally, in the middle of the main room is an archive of local history dating back to the 1700s. The library has records of every Huntley High School yearbook as well as books and photos of Huntley and the surrounding area. 

But that’s not all. Instead of one program room like the old model of the library had, the new library has three program rooms that can seat up to 150 people. It can also be made into one big room, by moving the dividing walls. 

The library staff is very proud of the work that has been done but Cataldo makes it clear that they should not receive all of the credit.

Without almost 68% of the community voting in favor of the library’s renovation, it would not have happened. 

“We could not have done this without the assistance of everybody here and [in] the community,” Cataldo said. “It means the world to us.”

All in all, the Huntley Library has made huge improvements that will benefit the community in more than one way. But, the most important thing that the library wants the community to know is that it is much more than books. It is a place to learn and connect. They cannot wait to see you there!