Merlo Branch of Chicago Public Library in Lakeview reopens after renovations; Mayor Lightfoot celebrates opening

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayor Lori Lightfoot helped reopen a Chicago Public Library branch in the city's East Lakeview neighborhood Wednesday afternoon.

The newly renovated Merlo Branch is in the 600-block of West Belmont Avenue, between Broadway and Halsted Street.

"Chicago's libraries are more than just places to check out books. They serve as community anchors and centers for education, skills training, and much more," Lightfoot said. "The exciting renovations at the Merlo Branch Library have brought this beloved space into the 21st century with an array of new features and programming that will support the education and imagination of Chicagoans of all ages for years to come, and I applaud the many dedicated individuals whose hard work made this moment possible."

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The renovated, two-story Merlo Branch Library will continue to offer traditional library services to the community but will also now provide all the flexible spaces and services featured in 21st century libraries. The branch will serve the neighborhood with a large community space, a dynamic children's area with a new Maker Lab, and an Early Learning Play Space, as well as a large enclosed YOUmedia area for teens, and an adult area with computers and reading space, city officials said. The library also features a new opening day collection, including a significant focus on LGBTQ+ materials. Community spaces will be available for use once public health guidance allow.

Refurbishments also expanded ADA accessibility throughout the building.

That branch has been closed since last year for a $6 million modernization.

Lightfoot was joined by Alderman Tom Tunney and members of John Merlo's family.

After closing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many Chicago Public Library branches have reopened.
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