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McClure Branch set to reopen

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After 11 months of work second renovated branch reopens with ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday

For nearly a year the McClure Branch of the Peoria Public Library has been closed, its interior and exterior both showing signs of wear after 75 years.

That all changes Saturday at 10 a.m. when the branch at 315 W. McClure St. reopens after a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the occasion by the Public Library's board of trustees. Library officials said the opening will miss by one day the anniversary of the McClure's branches first opening, Jan. 8, 1937.

It is the second branch to reopen after many months of repairs and renovations. The Lincoln Branch reopened Dec. 10. The Lakeview Branch on North University Street remains closed, with reopening expected within a couple months, officials said.

It is all part of a $28 million project that saw the Main Library in Downtown Peoria get remodeled before work started on the three branches. Also part of the project was construction of a new North Peoria Branch, just off of Allen Road near Illinois Route 6, which opened in May 2011 and already is seeing a lot of business.

The McClure Branch has been refurbished and repaired and upgraded with all the same technologies as other Peoria Public Library locations. "Although the building could not be expanded as it sits in a flood plain, users will note that the signs of wear of 75 years have been erased and interior spaces thoughtfully rearranged to eliminate the previous cluttered look," said a Public Library news release.

The brick exterior has been cleaned and returned to its original look. Inside the building radiators have been eliminated and every window now has a window seat where readers can curl up with a book or laptop.

"With WiFi throughout the building and study tables with power outlets, as well as six public computers, access is available to the Internet for all. Catalog-only computers, self-check stations and information desks are located both upstairs and down. Outside there are 20 parking spots," the news release said.

Construction costs totaled just under $600,000 for the 4,270 square-foot building, which closed Feb. 19, 2011 for remodeling. Renovations were actually completed before this, the release said, but reopening was delayed because of a problem with the delivery of shelving.

The McClure Branch, known when it first opened as "the East Bluff Branch" was built on land donated by the Peoria School Board and cost $20,000 to build. The separate children's room in the basement did not open until the next October.

Crowds flocked to a Jan. 29, 1937 evening open house hosted by the Library Trustees. "According to newspaper reports of the day, visitors marveled at the new hot water heat system that was assured to keep the temperature stable and patrons comfortable.

One of the latest innovations was 'anti-glare lighting'and everyone was pleased with the curtains. Curtains were exciting because they eliminated 'flapping roller shades that suddenly slip and rocket to the top with a fearful rattle, frightening the patrons,'" the library said.

"Window shade technology has come a long way and McClure Branch now features the latest technology in window shades as well," it added.

Hours for McClure Branch will be Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Main Library is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., as well. Both are closed on Sunday.

The North Branch at 3001 W. Grand Parkway is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. It's closed on Tuesday.

The North Branch has a drive-up book drop in its parking lot.

The Lincoln Branch at 1312 W. Lincoln Ave. is open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. It's closed on Wednesday.


Paul Gordon is editor of The Peorian. He can be reached at 692-7880 or editor@thepeorian.com.














About the Author
Paul Gordon is the editor of The Peorian after spending 29 years of indentured servitude at the Peoria Journal Star. He’s an award-winning writer, raconteur and song-and-dance man. He also went to a high school whose team name is the Alices (that’s Vincennes Lincoln High School in Indiana; you can look it up).