The DeKalb Library (DKPL) board passed a resolution at the beginning of 2007 to expand and improve Library facilities. This indeed has happened; since its passage, the Library started a fund for a new boiler, accepted TIF money for window and other improvements, and remodeled the Youth Services department and the lounge.
Almost immediately, however, DKPL also began looking beyond its own premises. We know this because starting April 2007, DKPL began meeting in closed sessions under 5ILCS 120/2(2)(5), which is an exemption under the Open Meetings Act for discussing the sale or lease of real property. Also, DKPL paid for a consultation with Guio Real Estate in June of that year.
In all of 2006, DKPL met in closed session only once according to agendas at its website. In 2007, DKPL met in closed session once for personnel reasons and three times under the sale/lease exemption. In 2008 it met once in closed session under the personnel exemption and eight times under sale/lease, and in 2009 four times under sale/lease.
Because all discussions pertaining to the possibility of expanding off-premises occurred in closed session — including a “road trip” to visit other libraries — it is unclear as to exactly when and how the intention to expand the current library became a decision to build a new library.
In the following table, I’ve listed permanent improvements made to the library as well as expenditures related to real estate and site planning since 2007.
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In the past three years, DKPL has spent hundreds of thousands for renovation and remodeling of a building it now plans to abandon.
*Fred Schlipf is the library consultant who generated the 89,000 s.f. new building proposal that was approved by the DKPL board in September 2009.