Highwood Public Library Receives Large Construction Grant
HIGHWOOD, IL – The Highwood Public Library (HPL) has received more than $670,000 in funds from the Public Library Construction Act Grant Program through the Office of the Secretary of State and the Illinois State Library, executive director Carmen Patlan announced today. This grant award kicks off a $1.3 million capital campaign to raise much needed funds to renovate the small library space into a thriving, sustainable community center.
“It is time for this library to grow not only physically, but also to meet the educational, personal, and professional needs of our diverse community,” Patlan said. “If nothing else, this pandemic has taught us that Highwood needs a community center that has all the resources its families need and trust in one location.”
Library Board of Trustees President Lucy Hospodarsky said, “We opened our doors in 1970 and have had only one renovation since then. Our main library space is out of date and delivering 21st century services is very difficult. The Board is excited to begin this capital campaign and realize the vision of a modern library space to benefit the community.”
The project will remodel the existing facility to provide flexible, collaborative learning spaces for all age groups, engaging and interactive museum-like exhibits, and improved accessibility throughout the building. New meeting and study rooms, and experiential learning areas including a theater and stage area, recording booth, and a makerspace will all be added to support the library’s literacy initiatives and increase community access.
HPL plays a critical and important role in the educational, cultural, and inspirational needs of local families in Highwood. The city’s population is 5,400, and 60 percent identify as Latino.
“Last year, we were seeing a record number of visitors and launching new, culturally sensitive programs that were reaching the whole community,” said Patlan. “However, the pandemic forced us to put some of that on hold to focus on more immediate needs that would help ensure the health and safety of the families who live here. Now we are continuing our work to address the needs of our community brought on by COVID-19 as well as building toward the future.”
Throughout the pandemic, the Highwood Public Library has remained responsive to its community’s needs. The library continues to provide online resources and virtual programming on a weekly basis, including Spanish GED, ESL classes, English computer classes for adult learners, and homework help for local students. The library also acts as a food distribution site, providing meal kits to an average of 210 families per week in partnership with Curt’s Cafe and the Roberti House. To further serve the needs of the community, Patlan secured funding and developed partnerships to educate the community on the importance of being counted in the 2020 Census and is helping develop strategies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Latino communities throughout Lake county.
“The library and its leadership have continuously been able to see a need in the community and fulfill that need,” said Highwood Mayor Charlie Pecaro. “With Carmen's vision the library quickly transitioned to a community center providing much needed education and social service needs, then the library successfully headed up the city's census campaign and most recently became the community's resource for needs created by COVID. With Carmen in the lead there is nothing our library can't accomplish.”
Learn more about the capital campaign and how you can support HPL at friendshighwoodlibrary.org or call (847) 432-5404.
Founded in 1976, the Highwood Public Library is an innovative and collaborative anchor of the community, providing educational support, information needs, engaging services, and inspirational collections. The Highwood Public Library provides free multicultural and bilingual programs, services, and resources for Highwood and Illinois residents of all ages and ethnicities. The Library is located at 102 Highwood Avenue in Highwood, IL and is currently open Mondays-Thursdays from 12pm-7pm, Fridays from 12pm-6pm, and Saturdays from 10am-5pm. The library is closed on Sundays. For more information about the Highwood Public Library, visit w ww.highwoodlibrary.org and Facebook.