Skokie Public Library is on the cutting edge of new library technology and innovations in patron service. Since 1997, IDEA has designed a wide variety of renovations including: a comprehensive renovation of the patron services area at the main building entrance; a connected learning center for middle school students; a completed High School Lounge featuring performance, maker and hang-out spaces; a complete replanning of the library second floor collection shelving, adding six new patron study rooms and a new Business Center with videoconferencing capabilities; a new Adult Digital Media Lab for audio and video recording and editing; a new Junior High Zone for middle school students to socialize and play video games; the BoomBox, an ever-evolving kids’ maker space; and a variety area to provide toddler play areas, caregiver/children reading opportunities, and custom-built homework stations. IDEA continues to advise the Library Board on design and construction projects such as the creation of a Landscape and Grounds Master Plan and expansion of the library parking lot.
The original building was designed by Skidmore Owings and Merrill and completed in 1960 with a large addition and a subsequent renovation designed by Hammond Beeby and Babka (which included the largest purchase of Mies van der Rohe-designed furniture in the history of Knoll International). Further additions have respected with unusual fidelity the original design direction. As a result, the library interior has an exceptionally high level of visual design integrity and unusually well-conserved interior spaces exemplifying Mid-century Modern design. Modifying and enhancing these spaces for continually evolving library service needs is a rare challenge, and offers an interesting take on using preservation strategies in a mid-20th century context.