Current COVID-19 Update

The library building is open for limited in-person services. Patrons can pick up holds, visit our service desks for quick reference and reader’s advisory services, access the self-serve copy machine located at the front of the building, browse and check out materials. Masks are required for all visitors over the age of two years. Computer usage and research are suspended until further notice. Click here for more information on currently available services.

Click here for Plum Pickup Service.

The New Helen Plum Library

The New Helen Plum Library header showing exterior of new building

The Library Board and staff have been working with architects to bring our new building to life for the Lombard community with additional space for materials, events, and studying. We are excited to move forward with plans for our new building at 401 South Main Street!

Please check this page for updates. Though it is archived now, you can still access our previous referendum information site.

Project Updates

Planning and Zoning Presentation

Posted on:
On December 21, 2020, the Library building planning team presented plans to the Village of Lombard's Zoning and Planning Commission.

December 9, 2020 Presentation

Posted on:
The following was presented by the Engberg Anderson architect team to the Library’s Trustees during their Wed, Dec 9, 2020 board meeting.

Contact Us

Sue Wilsey,
Support Services and Communications Director

(630) 656-6902

Email Updates

Sign up for the biweekly email newsletter from Helen Plum Library to keep up-to-date on the latest new building information!

Frequently Asked Questions

Planning and Construction

At the June 8, 2020 meeting of the Helen Plum Library Board, the Board executed a sale agreement with the current property owners of three distinct tracts on land at the southeast corner of Main Street and Hickory Avenue.

The Library intends to develop the former Mr. Z’s grocery store property, an undeveloped tract within the Mr. Z’s parking lot, and the existing office building at 425 South Main Street. The existing structures on the subject properties will be razed, and a new Helen Plum Library will be constructed on the consolidated properties.

The current schematic plans have the building at approximately 50,000 square feet. The current library building is 34,300 square feet.

The Library Board determined that relocating to the 401 South Main Street site would best suit the needs of the community, and this approach allows for the construction to be undertaken in a single phase without interruption to day-to-day operations.

A single standalone library building will be constructed on the premises. The concept plan will be to provide similar programs, functions, and resources as the previous concept plans that were publicly shared after the referendum was passed in 2016. The site will also be improved with a new parking lot and a drive-through for pick up and drop off of materials.

Until the Library receives final zoning approval, obtains building permits, and closes on the Main Street properties, the Board will not initiate discussion of the future of the current site. The Maple Street location will continue to be the Helen Plum Library interim site until the move to the completed building on Main Street.

The Library will seek zoning approval from the Village in order for the project to proceed at the 401 South Main Street property.

Requests for zoning entitlements are considered through a public hearing process before the Lombard Plan Commission and final approval by the Village Board. Once a complete petition for a public hearing has been filed by the Library, the Village will review the petition and schedule the requisite public hearing with the Plan Commission. Consideration by the Village Board will follow the Plan Commission hearing.

Should the Library project ultimately be approved, the Village will also be responsible for reviewing and approving the companion building permits.

  • End of Sep: Complete initial Village Staff Review.
  • Sep 30 & Oct 4: Virtual Community Conversations.
  • Mid Oct: Filing with Village Plan Commission.
  • Nov 23 and 30: Tentative public hearings at the Village.
  • Dec: Anticipated Village Planning & Zoning approval.
  • Jan: Close on the Main Street property.
  • Mar/Apr 2021: Asbestos remediation and demolition of existing Main Street site structures.
  • Summer 2021: Construction begins.
  • Fall 2022: Anticipated building completion.

All dates are estimates, and all images are in-progress renderings. All are subject to change.

The architects are using both Illinois Department of Transportation criteria and the Village’s clear line of sight requirements to assure safety for drivers and pedestrians.

The Library will need to undertake the following steps:

  • Close on the three properties
  • Develop the final building design and engineering plans
  • Apply for and receive building permits from the Village to raze the existing buildings and structures
  • Apply for and receive building permits from the Village for the proposed site improvements and the new library building

Sign up for the Helen Plum Library biweekly email newsletter, which will link to any new project developments, by visiting

New Building Features

The Village of Lombard’s zoning code requires 3 parking spaces per 1,000 square feet of usable space. There is a calculation within the zoning code to define which square feet count and which do not towards parking.

At this time in the project, the plans indicate the usable space will be around 50,000 square feet, requiring 150 spaces. While not final, our plans currently include 106 total spaces. We will be seeking relief from the Village consistent with other relief provided in the downtown district, which includes 401 South Main. Additionally, we have hired a traffic engineer to review current and forecasted parking needs as well as to compare Lombard’s zoning code to other neighbor municipalities. The requirement of 3 spaces per 1,000 square feet is higher than the majority of the 10 closest libraries to Lombard and higher than the national standard.

The number of accessible spaces is regulated by the Illinois Accessibility Code. Lombard’s code references this; they don’t have anything more stringent. The code stipulates the number of accessible spaces based upon the number of parking spaces provided (not the number required by any local code). If 76–100 spaces are provided, 4 need to be accessible stalls. If 101–150 are provided, 5 need to be accessible stalls.

The current plans include 5 accessible parking spaces adjacent to the east entrance of the new building.

We are planning to expand the Teen collection size and expect to maintain our current size for most other collections. We do expect to have more room for popular fiction collections (including genre fiction, paperbacks, and graphic novels) and hopefully large print. We cannot yet make final determinations about collection size until we are further along in the design process.

New collections are based on current reading trends, patron needs, and other factors. For example, we’ve greatly increased hotspot lending due to the pandemic. We will continue to assess the usage and needs of the community as we make decisions about collections.

The landscape architect plans to accommodate appropriate and enhanced plant materials. The addition of lilac plants will be taken into consideration. No final landscape plans are available at this time.


Particularly with the proximity to the Illinois Prairie Path, bike racks will be placed near both the front and rear entrances.

We have discussed all aspects of sustainability for the project with the architects and are taking a larger review of possibilities for green technology or other enhancements to improve building efficiency. This includes potential for a green roof, solar panels, a selection of enhanced roofing materials, geothermal heating, and addressing natural lighting and sunlight/heat absorption.

Each of these elements require up-front and maintenance costs, many significantly more than what is currently included in the construction budget estimates. Input from community members regarding their desire for sustainable aspects will always be taken into consideration.

In addition to sustainable energy considerations, the current plan provides an asphalt parking lot with concrete walkways. Permeable pavers may be incorporated into the project, subject to further review, taking into account cost and maintenance considerations.


Construction Costs = $20,670,000

Soft Costs (Fees/Furnishings) = $3,035,000

Owner Costs (Land costs/Costs to date/Demo of existing structures) = $4,100,000

Total Project Cost = $27,805,000

Building cost increases usually occur as a result of market forces and reflect increases in the cost of labor and materials. Some owner-incurred costs do include the extended design process and the purchase of property.


The Library has accumulated a significant portion of the voted levy increase. The funds on hand are expected to be in excess of $10 million and will be used for the building project that is scheduled to begin construction in spring of 2021. At this time, the Helen Plum Library’s financing plan for the new building has not yet been finalized.

The debt payments on the amount borrowed will be sized to fit the Library’s goals. For instance, larger payments reduce the debt faster and smaller payments allow greater funding for the Library. The Library Trustees will determine how they want to finance the project once the final project cost and funds on hand are determined in early 2021.

The bond ordinance that was voted on by the Board in July 2020 authorized the issuance of general obligation bonds not to exceed $25 million. That figure is a cap, not the actual amount that will be borrowed.