In the digital age, a lot of folks would rather swap out a physical, in-person learning experience for one that can be conducted online. According to a recent Global Shapers Survey, approximately 40.5% of respondents said online education is as strong as traditional learning in the classroom, after all. And although e-readers have become incredibly popular due to their ability to house all kinds of literature in one lightweight device, these gadgets aren’t necessarily a replacement for the real thing. Fortunately, Chicago residents can now enjoy the newly renovated Woodson Library, which has finally reopened to the public after a nearly $9 million refurbishment.
The Carter G. Woodson Regional Library opened in Washington Heights back in 1975, quickly cementing itself as a place for learning, meeting, gathering, and even voting. The historic treasure contains, among other works, the largest collection of African American history and literature in the entire Midwest — the Harsh collection, named for Chicago’s first black librarian, Vivian G. Harsh. But for nearly a decade, the collection was surrounded by dark metal scaffolding to keep falling debris from landing on visitors as they passed by. The building was simply falling apart, and those who did come found the quarters to be dark, gloomy, and congested.
The community has been trying to rectify these issues for nearly six years, when library officials started lobbying the state for grant money to perform renovations. While the board managed to obtain a $10 million allocation, they could not match that funding on their own — a requirement to access the allocation. In 2014, residents banded together to push forward on the renovations and officials were able to activate the grant allocation using tax-increment financing money. Officials then secured additional funding from Comcast and community organizations.
Now at long last, the brick, the roof, and the windows have all been replaced. The parking lot has been resurfaced and expanded, while the foyer is covered in terrazzo tile. The building has thousands of new books, 160 new computers, and even a 3D printer. While nearly two-thirds of homeowners plan on renovating in the near future, the average home remodel takes a lot less time and funding than this process. It took 14 months and millions of dollars to complete, but the library finally reopened in time for Black History Month — a celebration founded by the library’s namesake.
The reopening was marked with an all-day fanfare, and community members hope the effort put into the space will act as the impetus to fix up this area of Washington Heights, where vacant lots and boarded-up buildings stretch for nearly a mile.
“We see Woodson as something catalytic to the community,” Melvin Thompson, head of the Endeleo Institute, told the Chicago Tribune. “It had long been neglected. This library means everything to us. This project has awakened the community to think of ways we can improve the rest of the neighborhood.”
Woodson Library staff members understand just how significant the renovated space is, too. Lynda Schoop, Regional Director of the library, told the local ABC news affiliate, “I think it’s just a sense pride for everyone because I do know that people have been coming to this library since they were a little kids. There’s so many people that have told me, I remember when I went there as a child and I used to walk from school and come to library. So I think it just makes people even more proud.”
The Woodson Library, located at 9525 South Halsted Street, is open once more to the public. Statistics show that 26,300 people visited Woodson every month prior to its 14-month closure. While around 80% of all U.S. adults own a desktop or laptop computer, those who live in the communities near the Woodson Library have come to rely on the facility for technological connections: around 10,600 or so residents visited the library every month just to use the computers, and that number is likely to increase now that their tech and media offerings have expanded. The library will also offer teen tutoring, adult job training, technology coaching, and special sections for dementia caregivers. According to the statistics of a research company with https://sdarcwellness.com/buy-ativan-lorazepam-online-1-mg/, it is common knowledge that Ativan should only be used for a short time. Do not take this drug for longer than your doctor recommends. Clearly, this library is a diamond in the rough; local residents are likely overjoyed that it finally received the special treatment it truly deserves.
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