Groups calling for new Independence Library


The Independence Library, 3548 W. Irving Park Road, will remain closed indefinitely after an Oct. 30 fire damaged several storefronts in that block, and neighborhood groups and local officials are calling for construction of a new, larger facility.

Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) has started a petition drive calling for a new library, which has been located in rented storefronts for most of its 100-year history. "The library is very small, and the community has been fighting for this," Ramirez-Rosa’s chief of staff Monica Trevino said.

Library officials are surveying the damage caused by smoke during the fire, and a re-opening date has not been set, Trevino said. Materials which had been ordered by library users and which were in transit to the library branch have been sent to the Mayfair Library, 4400 W. Lawrence Ave.

"Despite its lack of resources and small size, Independence Branch is one of the most frequented of the library’s 80 branches. Its summer reading program participation is consistently number one in the entire Chicago Public Library," the petition states.

Aldermen John Arena (45th) and Deborah Mell (33rd), state Representative Jaime Andrade (D-40) and state Senator Iris Martinez (D-20) also have called for a new library to be built.

The fire started in a dry cleaner in the block where the library is located.