Champaign Public Library plans expansion of teen area

Local News

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The Champaign Public Library will be getting some major upgrades thanks to a decision from the Champaign City Council.

The library currently has an area for pre-teens and teenagers, but it’s small. The library plans to build a new, expanded area for them.

“So the goal behind this new space that were calling the studio is to expand to 8000 square feet on the lower level,” said library Deputy Director Brittany Millington.

Millington said they want to provide one place for students after school. In a normal session. The library hosts about 200 students but they have been having to use multiple locations just to fit everybody, including conference rooms. With the new plans, they are hoping to create one large space to keep all the students together, safe, and offer more electronics.

“This will offer a flexible programming space that can accommodate all ages and various types of programming,” Millington said.

Joyce Lin and her brother Jayden come to the library after school. I asked them what they would like to see.

“Like more things to study with, maybe a little bit more electronics,” Joyce responded.

Joyce said studying materials and VR systems. Jayden said he wanted to see 3D printers.

“My brother brought home a 3D-printed owl once and I was very interested in it,” Jayden said.

Luckily for them, Millington said the library’s newest addition will come fully equipped with virtual reality, 3D printers and equipment to offer all sorts of after-school programming.

“To be able to really provide the kids in this area an opportunity for a safe and engaging way to spend their time after school,” Millington said.

The project costs $2.5 million. The library has independently raised $1 million. The Champaign City Council voted to tentatively approve investing $1.5 million from the general fund to support the expansion, and on Tuesday night, the Council voted to move forward with design plans.

If finalized, the goal is to have the new upgrades completed by March of next year.

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