Monday, April 27, 2015 - 12:30pm

After nearly a year of construction, the Northbrook Public Library is ready to shake off the dust and embrace a new and exciting era. On May 1, the Library will welcome a multitude of changes, from policy changes to the programs returning to the library.

The Library received a temporary certificate of occupancy from the Village, which signified that the renovated spaces were officially able to be used for programs. Both of the Library’s entrances are now in full use, and the circulation desk is once again up and running on the first floor. While there are still a few outstanding punch list items that need to be addressed—such as receiving the acoustical panels for the auditorium and the signage for the first floor—the Library is close to receiving its final certificate of occupancy.

“A lot of work has gone into the construction project, and it’s very rewarding to be a part of the wonderful opportunities that the staff can provide to the Northbrook community,” said business manager Anna Amen, who managed the building project.

On May 1, programs that had been held offsite for the last year will be returning to the Library. Events like Gentle Yoga and the Current Events and Great Ideas discussions had been held at other locations during the construction, but will now settle back into the refurbished Pollak room at the Library, where participants will get a first look at the revamped space. Staff and library patrons alike are more than excited about using the updated rooms and auditorium. The movie series will be returning to the new auditorium this summer.

“We now have more opportunities to do things. Our space is bigger, the technology is better,” said Andrew Kim, Assistant Director. “It’s a new frontier for us. Our space meets the level of programming ideas we’ve always had, and now we can execute them.”

Area residents are encouraged to attend the Library’s Grand Opening celebration on June 13 and 14 to take tours of the completed renovations and enjoy a variety of entertainment.

While programming is returning to the Library, there are some things that will not return, like the fee to check out movies.

In February, the Library’s Board of Trustees unanimously voted to eliminate the fee to check out movies and rental books. Effective May 1, patrons will be able to check out movies from the Library at no cost, and can even renew movies online. Patrons will also be able to check out the hottest rental books on the shelves, which will be renamed the Lucky Day Collection as of May 1, for no cost. The Library is currently working on a way for patrons to make use of any free rental coupons they may have received in the past.

In addition to dropping the fees for rental books and movies, the Board also eliminated the fee for scanning, replacing a library card, utilizing internet cards and InterLibrary Loan materials. The maximum fine per item has dropped from $12 to $10, and the cost of faxing has dropped to just $1 per page. All of these fine and fee changes will go into effect on May 1.

April brought another round of potential policy changes to the library, this time concerning checkout limits, loan periods, and the possibility of holding materials. Checkout limits remain unchanged— patrons are able to check out up to 30 books, 10 movies, 15 music CDs, 5 audiobooks, 5 videogames, 5 CD-ROMs, and 12 magazines—but the Board approved changes to the library’s holding and loan period policies. Starting May 1, Northbrook cardholders will be able to place holds new CDs and CD box sets, all movies and DVD/Blu-Ray box sets, and videogames. In addition, all new fiction and non-fiction will be holdable only to Northbrook cardholders. Northbrook cardholders will also be able to borrow magazines for up to two weeks. Library Director Kate Hall is pleased about the new policies.

“One of the goals behind the changes is to offer taxpayers access to more materials and more services,” said Hall. “We’re here because of the support from our community, so it’s our job to ensure members of the community receive services they would like from the library.”

Northbrook cardholders will soon have even greater access to movies; on November 1, Northbrook cardholders will be able to place holds on movies from other libraries in the consortium.

“We ran the numbers, and this will increase our available movie selection by 75%,” said Hall of the upcoming November changes.

The Library is optimistic that patrons will welcome the new changes.