The new Independence and Little Italy (formerly Roosevelt) branch libraries opened earlier this week. They are two of the three new libraries in the City that are combined with affordable / CHA senior housing.
The third library is our own Northtown, which has the distinction of being the only one of the three which required a secret committee to advise the alderman on its construction. The members of that committee, sworn to secrecy immediately upon appointment, are still unknown and likely to remain so.. It’s the Silverstein way
The senior housing component of the Independence Library is not yet finished, being about three weeks behind schedule, but the library is open and fully functioning. This is because Ald. Laurino is not running for reelection.
There is no official opening date for the Northtown but you can bet it will be as close to the election as possible so that Silverstein can do what she does best–place herself front and center, claim credit, and have her picture taken. Taking credit is easier than actually doing the work. It’s the Silverstein way.
The real heroes in the battle for a new library–The LEARN Coalition– will no doubt not be mentioned. Silverstein still cannot bring herself to mention the name “LEARN Coalition” or to give them the credit they deserve. As usual, she did it all herself.
There are similarities between the Independence branch and the Northtown. Both libraries are 16,000 square feet in size and include 44 housing units. But there are striking differences. The Independence branch is two stories, and places the adult area on the second floor. The Northtown library is one floor, with an open floor plan. At least that’s what the community was told before the secret committee and the alderman made the final design decisions, none of which were shared with residents.
The new library is one of two major accomplishments Silverstein cites as reason to re-elect her, the other being the Devon streetscape. Watch for lots of news coverage, photos with the mayor, and pictures of a grinning Silverstein with happy neighborhood residents, especially kids, flooding into the new building.
Delaying the building’s opening means solo news coverage and a boost for re-election.
It’s the Silverstein way.