In February, the Douglass Branch of the Chicago Public Library (CPL) closed for ten days to undergo roof repairs. The Lincoln Park Branch Library closed for four days in August so its air-conditioning system could be replaced.
The CPL was forced to temporarily close a number of branches during the summer because their air-conditioning systems had to be repaired or because of neighborhood power outages. The CPL also closed the Brighton Park, Jefferson Park, and Portage-Cragin Branches from November 26, 2012 to December 7, 2012 so their HVAC (heating, venting, and air-conditioning) systems could be replaced.
On June 22, 2012, the City of Chicago, the CPL, and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced the CPS and CPL “are working together to open the first full-service, purpose-built community library inside a public school at the new Back of the Yards high school.”
“By partnering together, Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Public Library are ensuring the Back of the Yards high school will become a community anchor for both students and residents in the community, who have been without a library for a year,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This innovative approach will provide residents and students with the library they deserve. Not only will the library be an anchor for the community, it will be designed to ensure students have what they need to succeed in the high school’s new challenging IB curriculum.”
The Humboldt Park Branch Library at 1605 North Troy closed on March 26, 2012. It will gain a 5,000-square-foot branch and nine new parking spaces, as well as undergo landscaping work and minor renovations. The architectural firm is Stephen Rankin Associates, PC, and the contractor is Tyler Lane Construction, Inc.
On September 22, 2012, the Albany Park Branch Library closed to make way for a new iteration. The Public Building Commission (PBC) of Chicago announced plans to build a new Albany Park Branch Library at 5150 North Kimball Avenue.
On Friday, December 7, 2012, the PBC issued the Request for Statement of Qualifications and Financial Condition (“RFSOQ”) for the proposed Albany Park Branch Library. Contractors who wanted to be considered for this project had to submit the forms to Janice Meeks, Manager of Procurement, by 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, December 19, 2012.
The PBC stated, “Eligible Respondents must possess verifiable past experience and demonstrate successful past performance of comparable public or private projects with construction costs of more than $8,000,000. Verifiable past experience must demonstrate respondent’s ability to coordinate project activities. Describe how the projects you provided are comparable in scope and complexity to the Albany Park Library project described in this pre-qualification.”
The PBC has two other library building projects under way. A new Edgewater Branch Library, designed by Lohan Anderson, at 6000 North Broadway will be a 18,665-square-foot, two-story full-service branch library. [The old Edgewater Branch Library closed on June 16, 2011 in the expectation that the new branch would open in mid-2013 and on June 24, 2011 a bookmobile opened to fulfill Edgewater Branch hold pick-ups and returns.] The contractor is Burling Builders, Inc.
The Whitney Young Branch Library, 7901 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive in Chatham is a new 16,500-square-foot, one-story full-service branch library will replace the existent Whitney Young Branch Library on same site as existing library plus acquisition of adjacent parcels to the east.
Chicago Sun-Times Staff Reporters Fran Spielman and Stefano Esposito discovered at a time when 300 unionized janitors at O’Hare International Airport losing their jobs as a result of a new $99,000,000 contract loomed large in the press that the CPL would also layoff fifty-four janitors in December. The library janitors, who belong to Service Employees International Local 73, received their pink slips and will be paid through Friday, December 14, 2012, Fran Spielman and Stefano Esposito reported (“City lays off library custodians”).
Kathleen Strand, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Deputy Communications Director, e-mailed the Sun-Times, “The Chicago Public Library is the last city department with facilities managed by 2FM [Fleet and Facilities Management] have been using private vendors for some time…Collective-bargaining agreement provisions urge any new vendor to consider hiring displaced employees. The city will also provide information on other city employment opportunities. In addition, all of the employees being laid off now qualify for part-time positions created under a new agreement with their union.”
Ms. Strand stated that Mayor Emanuel’s first budget the Chicago City Council passed unanimously a year ago eliminated the CPL janitorial jobs. There was a delay is issuing pink slips because it took so long for the City of Chicago to work through the RFP [request for proposals] process that culminated in it awarding contracts to Triad Consulting Services and Dayspring Professional Janitorial Services. This outsourcing of janitorial services is expected to save the City of Chicago $2,800,000 a year.
To end this part of the 2012 year-in-review piece on more of an upbeat note, I’ll remind readers that at the 2012 Carl Sandburg Literary Awards (CSLA) Dinner, on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 the Chicago Public Library Foundation (CPLF) and the CPL awarded two authors – Don DeLillo (Underworld, Cosmopolis) and Walter Isaacson (Steve Jobs) – the Carl Sandburg Literary Award and a third, Nami Mun (Miles from Nowhere), the 21st Century Award. The CPLF raised $1,500,000 for the CPL. This is a quarter of a million more dollars than the CPLF raised at the 2011 CSLA Dinner.
The CPL held Bookamania at the Harold Washington Library Center on Saturday, November 17, 2012. Bookamania is made possible by a grant from the Target Corporation through the Chicago Public Library Foundation.