Photo by Theo Tate
The downtown branch of the Six Mile Regional Library District at Delmar Avenue was renovated in August 2014.
GRANITE CITY — After a year, the newly renovated downtown branch of the Six Mile Regional Library District continues to impress patrons from Granite City and the rest of the Metro East.
“We have heard nothing but really positive comments from people in the community,” Six Mile Library Deputy Director Juliette Douglas said. “We’re delighted and we love it. The whole goal was to have a place that the community can come to and would appreciate it. And we’ve been thrilled that it has been received so well by the community and well-used by the community.”
The downtown library, 2001 Delmar Ave., will celebrate the one-year anniversary of the renovation this month. The library has a new main-floor circulation desk, an expanded children’s department, a new computer lab, two new elevators, new restrooms on each floor, a study room with local history books and a new microfilm machine, a new heating and air-conditioning system.
“It’s been a community effort from the very beginning,” Douglas said.
Douglas said the library’s goal is to continue to provide better service to the community.
“We have been really busy this first year,” Douglas said. “Hopefully, we’ll continue to be just as busy because there’s always something new to try and some needs that hopefully we can help partner with others.”
Before the renovation, the downtown library was temporarily housed at the former Niedringhaus Elementary School.
“We were really fortunate that the school district let us use that facility because it was large enough that we didn’t have to close any sections of the library and we had ample space for our books and everything,” said Douglas, who has been deputy director since 2014. “We managed. We were obviously thrilled to come back here. We really wanted to be up to date and modern and preserve the history of the library and of the building. We felt that we were able to do that.”
The Six Mile Regional Library District recently was awarded approximately $872,000 by the United States Steel Corp. and SunCoke Energy Inc. for its downtown building renovation. U.S. Steel and SunCoke created an environmental trust in support of local efforts to promote better air quality and energy efficiency.
“We were really conscious about energy conservation,” Douglas said.
Douglas said the library just added a new suggestion box.
“If there’s something you think we need to have here, you can put that in the suggestion box,” Douglas said. “We routinely go through it. If you put your name in that suggestion box, we’ll get back with you. We’re beginning to now purchase books and DVDs and other things that people have said this is what we would like to see here at your library.”
Douglas said the library received money from the Niedringhaus estate to update all of its technology, including the computers.
“In reality, it was great that so many people were willing to invest in the library,” Douglas said. “In this day and age to have a bond approved was absolutely amazing.”
The main branch library at Delmar Avenue was built in 1929. The Granite City library was founded in 1912 with 300 books donated by city residents. Today, the library has more than 90,000 items.
Douglas said Six Mile Library Executive Director Tina Hubert was determined to get the downtown library renovated.
“She recognized the need to do something,” she said. “The community and our board wanted to do something here in this building because it’s a beautiful building. Hopefully, it’s helping to revitalize it. Part of our goal is to be a partner and help revitalize the downtown area. So she really recognized that need. She’s the one that wrote the grant to the Illinois State Library. She wrote the information and worked to help get the bond approved and both Tina and the board worked together as a team make this happen.”
The library district also has a branch at 2145 Johnson Road.