Renewing Our Story Blog




Renovation Project is Complete

Listen! There’s no more hammering, drilling or painting! The Orland Park Public Library renovation project is complete as of mid-November, on time and on budget.

Although the pandemic has changed our daily lives, the library has remained open in order to serve our patrons and community in a safe and cautious way. Whether you come into the building to browse for a good read, pick up materials using Grab ‘n Go, bring a Take ‘n Make craft home to create, engage in our home delivery service, or participate in our virtual programming, the library staff have creatively been able to meet the needs of our patrons.

The library invites you to come and enjoy the beauty and resourcefulness of our newly renovated spaces.

As you enter the lobby you will be met with a bright, welcoming environment that offers a customer service-friendly layout including two self-checkout stations, the Lucky Day collection, Patron Pickups, and comfortable soft seating. In the near future, look for the In Recognition
Wall that will highlight patrons, as well as local area stakeholders who have generously donated to the library’s Capital Campaign throughout the years.

Welcome to the Children’s Library where you will be greeted by a nature-themed portal that highlights the library’s More Than Grass mural. Children will marvel at the different flora and fauna of the Orland Park area which is represented. The entire mural can be viewed in the Preschool Area of the Children’s Library. Two additional study rooms have been added to the Children’s Library, for a total of six rooms, that offer a quiet place for children to study.

Calling all tweens, grades 3-5, check out The In-Between, an area created just for you! Enjoy your own space, which has ample room for studying, crafting, gaming, visiting with your friends and more.

The Preschool Area for our youngest patrons has a new design that encourages children to explore and learn with interactive pieces throughout the area, as well as curl up with a good book in one of the newly designed book corrals. When in-person storytimes return, children will love the look of the Storytime/Craft room, which now features clear acrylic doors to let the natural light shine through. Quotes from some classic children’s literature now adorn the wall which children and parents will delight in reading together. New comfy furnishing will be enjoyed as children sit back and listen to a story or two from their favorite children’s librarian.

Unique to most area libraries is the addition of two new rooms created especially for our special patrons and their families. The Nest offers a tranquil area for mothers to nurse their little ones, while bonding with them in privacy and comfort.

The Darvin Furniture & Mattress Sensory Room provides a gentle atmosphere for children who enjoy a relaxing and quiet area highlighted with specialty lighting, engaging tactile activities and soothing acoustics.

The library’s large meeting room has been expanded to allow nearly 200 patrons to sit comfortably and enjoy a historical retelling, a musical concert or an educational lecture. Two large screens have been installed so everyone can view the event, along with pitch perfect acoustics.

The Friends of the Orland Park Public Library is front and center in their new “bookstore” location directly across from the main staircase. Patrons are welcome to browse the gently used books, DVDs, audiobooks and more from The Friends organization who generously donates the proceedings to the library for programming for patrons of all ages.

As you proceed to the 2nd floor you will notice many new changes and additions. The Teen Loft is a teen’s dream space come true! Teens, grade 6-12, have their own enclosed area which boasts two study rooms, study pods, bench seating, a gaming area, as well as a DIY craft table and multi-seat study table. The teen librarian is close by to help them find their perfect weekend read or perhaps a test prep book from one of its special collections.

State of the Art Technology has arrived at OPPL! The Computer Lab houses 15 stations for patrons to utilize while participating in one of the tech classes offered by the IT team. An exciting add-on to the lab is the ability to project tech information from the lab’s projector to the reflective glass along the corridor so patrons passing by can learn something new. The Today’s Business Solutions Tech Center offers the newest tech devices for patrons to discover such as the Glowforge 3D Laser Printer, VHS to DVD Converters, Cricut Cutting Machine and MAC Computers.

At the north end of the building, the large Quiet Study Room has seen quite a renovation as it is now the Multipurpose Room which can be used for small community meetings, book discussions, scout troop gatherings and more. Rounding out the changes on the 2nd floor is the addition of two additional study rooms which can seat four patrons comfortably and offer a quiet place for study.

The crowning touch to the library’s renovation project is the addition of an outdoor nature center called The Backyard! Through the generous and thoughtful donation by the Aileen S. Andrew Foundation, The Backyard offers patrons of all ages a place to enjoy the beauty of nature through all four seasons. Look for storytimes, concerts, STEAM activities and more to be held in this beautiful area.

The library encourages the Orland Park community to visit the newly renovated spaces so they may engage in its many services and programs, and thus enrich their lives.


Sensory Space

The Darvin Furniture Sensory Space

opened alongside the board and sponsors who made it possible Thursday morning. All celebrated what will soon become an asset to the Orland Park community. This room offers a vibrant, tactile experience. It will especially be beneficial to residents with autism and those who have some difficulty processing day-to-day activities.
This new space was made possible by a generous donation from Darvin Furniture. The library had been considering opening a sensory room for years as it would be used often by residents and groups visiting from local campuses that support people with disabilities. Darvin Furniture made it possible. Darvin Furniture’s Sensory Space contains objects and products that will help children and adults with sensory processing disorders, like autism, engage their senses of touch smell, sight, hearing, movement, and balance.

“It is most of all an area to calm down,” said Youth Services Manager Brandi Smits. “I don’t like to see families and groups leave, because someone has become overwhelmed. It is a place to take a break and regroup. We want residents with autism and their families to feel comfortable at the library, and Darvin Furniture has helped us do that.”


Teen Loft Opens


The lobby, storytime room, and the new outdoor learning space on the north side of the library building that will be known as The Backyard are part of the final phase of the library’s renovation and repurposing. As you may have noticed, the Friends of the Orland Park Public Library have already relocated their gently used book sale to a nice, new storefront across from the large staircase on the first floor of the library building.

With the completion of Phase three a sensory room, a tween area, new youth study rooms, and a nursing room which we will call The Nest, will also be unveiled.
The Teen Loft was completed during Phase two of construction. This enclosed space gives teens a place to work and hangout that is set aside specifically for them and caters to their library needs. Special collections, like our award books and test prep collection, will be housed here. It has ample amounts of seating including study pods, a high-top table, and bench seating. If students want a more isolated area to study, they can use one of the library’s two new study rooms. The Teen Loft has entertainment areas as well. The library has a new craft area where drop-in crafts and in-person craft programs will occur. Finally, this area has a gaming area with special seating and two TVs so teens can play on multiple systems at a time.

Even with COVID-19, the library’s renovation is on schedule and on budget. When you find that you are comfortable to visit the library again, please visit the renovated areas that we have designed and designated just for you.


Library Renovation Continues Through COVID-19

Due to the safety precautions put onto place by Governor Pritzker, the library temporarily closed its doors on March 16. On a bright note, the library’s renovation project continued with the completion of Phase One and the beginning of Phase Two. As the library reopens its doors on June 15, patrons will be greeted by a redesigned Computer Lab for tech-related classes, IT Commons area for public use, and the Technology Center that houses the newest tech devices such as Glowforge 3D Laser printer, Cricut Cutting Machine, and MAC computers. The Quiet Study Room, which was located in the northeast end of the building, has been repurposed and is now the Multi-purpose Room which will allow ample space for book discussions, group meetings, and adult programs. Two additional study rooms have also been added to accommodate those patrons in need of a quiet area to study.

Phase Two, of the renovation, began in late March with renovations being concentrated in the large meeting room, as well as the second floor teen area. The large meeting room’s seating capacity will be doubled to hold up to 200 patrons who will enjoy various programs, educational events, and larger group meetings. The lighting, acoustics, and AV infrastructure will be updated for a pleasant experience for all. The Teen Loft is the newly designed and enclosed area that will offer teens a place to study using two study rooms, enjoy a DIY Crafting area, and play the newest video games in the Gaming Area. The Friends of the Orland Park Public Library’s Recycled Reads area has found a new home! Directly across from the main staircase you will find a “storefront’ in which patrons may purchase gently used books, DVDs, Blu-Rays, and audiobooks from the benevolent Friends group. As always, all proceeds from the Recycled Reads purchases go to the library for programming for adults, teens, and children.

In early June, construction of The Backyard will begin. This outdoor nature center will be located adjacent to the Youth Services Department and will invite patrons of all ages to enjoy the beauty of nature mixed with reading, STEAM activities, and more! Here you can listen to a story outdoors, enjoy a flower garden, or experiment with the water table. The Backyard will promote literacy, play, and learning within a natural environment.

Phase Three will bring more exciting changes as the library’s lobby redesign will offer a welcoming environment and a more efficient layout for even better customer service. The nature-themed Youth Services entrance will bring children and their families to an area that fosters literacy, interactive play, and family togetherness. The Preschool Area will feature learn and play furniture, imaginative seating, and innovative shelf concepts for picture books. Within the Preschool Area, the Storytime/Craft Room will see changes with the movable partition which will allow natural light into the Storytime Room. The furnishings will also allow for more comfortable seating as the children enjoy a story or two. Unique to most libraries will be the addition of two new rooms: The Nest and a Sensory Room. The Nest will allow parents a private area to spend bonding time with their little ones while nursing. The room will also have lounge seating with sinks and changing stations. The Sensory Room will provide a safe space for children who respond favorably with specialty lighting, textured walls, and soft acoustics for a relaxing and engaging experience. Another exciting addition to the department will be The In-Between which is a specific area for tweens (in grade 3-5) that will include a DIY crafting table, gaming area, and movable furnishings to allow for study or stage space.

The Orland Park Public Library has always been a place to find a wealth of information for patrons of all ages. Now libraries find they are community centers, entertainment venues, and gateways to technology. As a result, the library knew the building needed to have its space repurposed and redefined in order to keep align with our community’s needs and wants. This renovation project will demonstrate the library’s commitment to Orland Park as we become increasingly more relevant in this ever-changing time.


Phase 2

Phase 1 of the Orland Park Public Library renovation is about to wrap up just after March 16. As the library renews its story, a new Multi-Purpose Room has been created, two study rooms have been added to the second floor, and the SMART Lab has become a computer lab and separate tech center.

In Phase 2 of the library renovation, sections of Youth Services will be blocked off on the first floor, and ground will be broken outside of the North side of the building as a nature center goes in. The nature center will be called The Backyard.
The Friends of the Orland Park Public Library will be moving their Recycled Reads from the lobby to a public accessible room on the first floor in the library.
The large meeting room will be expanded in Phase 2 to accommodate 200 people, and the Board Room will be shifted. The Teen Area, which will now be called the “Teen Loft”, will also be enclosed in glass giving Teens a space all to themselves.

More will change in Phase 3. A Nursing Room, Tween Area, Sensory Room, and more study rooms will be added to the first floor. The library, as of March, is ahead of schedule and on budget.

For the Interior Renovation, bidders are to contact George Gardner at



Construction on the library has begun!


As we designate and create custom spaces across the library, a few sections of the library will become unavailable for the time being.

All meeting room booking has now ended and will resume in the fall next year. The four study rooms on the second floor are now inaccessible due to construction plastic and temporary barrier walls. Patrons are asked to see the Youth Services Reference Desk to use a study room on the first floor. Half of youth study rooms on the first floor have been designated for adults to use.

The computer commons has temporarily moved into the teen area. Fewer computers are available. Library cardholders are asked to spend no more than four hours on the public computers to make sure that everyone gets a chance to use them.

Parking may be limited in the library parking lot, and the library may become noisy at times. The best time to expect quiet in the library is after 3 p.m.

Patrons who require a perfectly quiet place to study can visit one of Orland’s sister libraries in Homer Glen or Tinley Park.





FFE Addendum No.1


Request for Proposal- Furniture Services


Public Notice

Notice is hereby given that the Board of Library Trustees of the Village of Orland Park (“Library Board”) is accepting sealed bids for: Orland Park Public Library Interior Renovation. Please click the links to see the bid advertisements.


Nature Center

The library’s tagline A Natural Connection is a true meaning for the library’s soon to be constructed Nature Center! At the July 15, 2019 meeting of the Library Board of Trustees, the board voted to fund the construction of the Nature Center as part of the upcoming renovation project.

The raised-deck center will be built on the west side of the building and extend north near the pond. The Nature Center will be accessible through the YS north exit. Children and their families will be able to enjoy the outdoors while listening to stories in the Reading Nook, play on the Tree Stump Jump, watch Mother Nature’s plants bloom in the sensory garden beds, write on the slate chalkboards and feel the coolness of water with the water table with hand pump, and so many other STEAM-related activities!

Storytime and other programs for children will be held in the Nature Center, as well as programs for adults.

Watch for more details as this exciting part of the upcoming renovation project becomes a reality!


Meet Opie

Opie, OPPL’s renovation mascot, will fill you in on all of the exciting progress, from start to finish, of the library’s upcoming renovation project.

Look for Opie to let you know when the project will start, what areas of the building will be worked on and when, plus other special tidbits of information that you will be able to share with family, friends and neighbors.

Spread the word that the library is Renewing Our Story!


The library is proud to be the “jewel” of the community with extensive services, a spacious facility and a diverse collection of resources supported by a knowledgeable and friendly staff. Since the award-winning building opened in 2004, the Board of Library Trustees and staff understood that keeping current for patrons and providing the newest materials and technology was of utmost importance. Times change quickly, and the library is used by patrons much differently than twenty years ago. The library has become a center for community engagement and learning. In that end, OPPL needed to create new flexible spaces to accommodate the patron’s needs without compromising the beauty and openness of the building.

With this in mind, the original architect Michael C. Barnes and the architectural team from Wight & Co. are repurposing spaces in many public areas to offer more study rooms, a larger program room, an updated Computer Lab, a Sensory Room, a Mother’s Room, an improved preschool area, a Teen Room, a Tween space and more. Understanding the library’s need to be current, the Board of Library Trustees have been saving money over the past decade to pay for these renovations without further taxing the Orland Park residents. This project is estimated at just over $3,000,000 and the anticipated timeline of this project is October, 2019 through August, 2020.

Most of the changes will happen in the public spaces. The Information Technology Department hosts public computers for ages 18 years and up, as well as the Computer Lab which is currently housing the SMART Lab equipment. If a computer class is in progress, patrons have no access to the variety of equipment for their use. The Computer Room will be more open so patrons can observe what is being offered as they enter the department. The SMART Lab equipment (3D printers, the VHS to DVD converter, Mac computers and more) will be housed in a separate space visible to all patrons in the same area. The public computers will remain in this area.

The Teen section is located on the second floor in the corner, but currently has limited offerings for this age group. The new Teen section will be have a glassed enclosed area to offer gaming, study rooms, crafting area, lounge seating and programs for grades 6-12. The Young Adult collection will remain outside the Teen room for easy access.
Also on the second floor, the Quiet Study Room will be converted to a multi-purpose room for book discussions, outside community group meetings, and other library programs. Reallocating this space also allows the library to add two more study rooms for adults.

These are just a few of the improvements which will be made in the upcoming renovation project. Look to this web page for more information on the wonderful changes to provide new services to all of our patrons.

OPPL Master Plan Study


The Design Team

Michael C. Barnes Original Architect, michael c barnes architect, pllc
Michael C. Barnes Original Architect, michael c barnes architect, pllc
Lisa Schmidt-Wight & Company
Lisa Schmidt-Wight & Company










Divya Jain-Wight & Company
Divya Jain-Wight & Company
George Gardner-Wight & Company
George Gardner-Wight & Company










The New Design

All 3d renderings credited to Michael C. Barnes of michael c barnes architect , pllc