Chicago Area Libraries Combine Green with Knowledge

Did Benjamin Franklin think when he developed the idea for the public library that the library would become a second home for many of us? In my opinion libraries have a cozy feel to them — they’re almost like a second home. All of those books and music in one place, not to mention the computers and other services a library has to offer. Who needs to go home? Over the past 25 years libraries have become more than a place to visit when you need to write that dreaded book report or state report; libraries have become the hub of information for a community. This can clearly be seen currently duing the United States’ recession. Libraries have stepped up and have assisted their patrons in developing job hunting strategies by offering seminars and databases chock full of information.

Libraries’ main focus has always been to provide information and offer knowledge to their patrons. Recently, libraries have taken that knowledge one step further and have used it gor the greater good — to go green. Of course, the most famous library that has gone green is Chicago’s Harold Washington Library Center, which boasts a secret garden of its own on top of its roof, but several suburban libraries have gone one step further in the green movement.

One of the most recently added green libraries to the Chicago area is the Addison Public Library, located in Addison, Ill., which incorporates such green features as green roofs, low-emissivity (Low-E) insulated glass, flooring made out of bamboo and cork, and extensive use of natural sunlight.

Addison Public Library

Addison Public Library

Already known for its historic Frank Lloyd Wright homes, the Oak Park Public Library in Oak Park, Ill. is in the process of implementing a green roof.

Located in northwest suburban Illinois and one of the largest cities in the state, the Rakow Branch of Elgin’s Gail Borden Library will contain many eco-friendly features including a geothermal well system and natural light design. According to a recent issue of the library’s newsletter, “Library officials anticipate that the Rakow Branch will receive silver or gold LEED certification.”