Last year the main branch of Joliet Public Library completed a three-year renovation that modernized an institution steeped in the past. The building was constructed in 1903 by Daniel Burnham and was redesigned in 1991 to double its size. Both the '91 redesign and the current remodel were done with an eye to matching the integrity of the rest of the building, said library director John Spears. The spacious entrance boasts the original 1903 marble floor, new lighting complements the natural light from arched windows, and the mantel over the fireplace tells the pictorial history of Hiawatha. There are computer labs on three of the four floors, programming is in English and Spanish and there is also an employment center with state-certified job-hunting assistants. Spears attributes the community's palpable love of the library to its staff, several of whom have worked there decades. "I've worked in four libraries in my career and there's no question this one has the highest retention and longevity of any library I've ever seen."
Visit: Joliet Public Library, 150 N. Ottawa St., Joliet, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, or go to http://www.joliet.lib.il.us.
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