“The Naperville Public Library, Part III: The Naper Boulevard Library” by S.M. O’Connor

On December 29, 1992, the Naper Boulevard Library (N.B.L.) opened in southeast Naperville, Illinois, within the large portion of Naperville in Will County, as the first branch of the Naperville Public Library (N.P.L.).  It is an example of the Prairie School style of architecture.  At first, only the upper floor in the two-story building was open to the public as a library. In its first year, the Naper Boulevard Public Library had acquired 52,113 books, videos, and CDs.  The staff answered 36,000 reference questions. Within just three years, the Naper Boulevard Library expanded to the lower level of the building.  This is a 32,000 square-foot building, which makes it the smallest of the Naperville Public Library’s three facilities.  The $3,000,000 facility was funded through the sale of general obligation bonds and the N.P.L.’s building reserve fund.[1]

IMG_8792Figure 1 Credit: Sean M. O’Connor Caption: This is the Naper Boulevard Library, as seen on Monday, September 17, 2018.

IMG_8793Figure 2 Credit: Sean M. O’Connor Caption: This is the main entrance of the Naper Boulevard Library.

IMG_8795Figure 3 Credit: Sean M. O’Connor Caption: This bronze sculpture, The Grinch, is outside the entrance of the Naper Boulevard Library.  It depicts the Grinch in his faux Santa Claus suite, and his dog, Max, disguised as a reindeer from How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss, published by Random House in 1957.



In 1995, Roger Pearson, the first Library Director of the Naperville Public Library, stepped down.  Donna Dziedzic succeeded him as Library Director in May of 1996. By the time she retired in 2011, her title was Executive Director of the Naperville Public Library.

The Nichols Library, for lack of space, underwent a major renovation in 1996. The administrative offices were relocated from the Nichols Library to the Naper Boulevard Library during this period. As predicted, both libraries, like the geography surrounding them, also began to fill to capacity and struggle with the volume of traffic.  These issues led to the foundation of the third library in the system, the 95th Street Library.

In 2010, Itasca, Illinois-based Williams Architects oversaw renovations of the Naper Boulevard Library and in 2014 renovated and remodeled the building.  The renovations in 2009 included a new monument sign, new permeable pavers that would minimize stormwater runoff, and replacement of the original concrete roof tiles with energy-efficient and long-lasting shingles. The renovation and remodeling work in 2014 included renovation of the existent main lobby, the installation of new carpeting and finishes, the installation of improved lighting, modular service desks, new furniture in the Children’s Services and Adult Services, renovated Quiet Study areas, and an updated Teen Space.  The total budget for this project was about $900,000.

Since November of 2017, Yan Xu has been Library Manager of the Naper Boulevard Library.  She replaced Karen Dunford. [Ms. Dunford became Library Manager of the 95th Street Library.]  Ms. Xu has worked at the N.P.L. since April of 2008.  Previously, she served as Adult and Teen Services Supervisor from April of 2011 to October of 2017.  She had been Adult Services Librarian from April of 2008 to April of 2011.  Beforehand, she had been Adult Services Librarian at the Waukegan Public Library in Waukegan, Illinois from February of 2002 to June of 2007.  Ms. Xu earned her B.A. in English Language and Literature at Fudon University in Shanghai, China; a M.S. in Journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in 1999; and a second M.S., in Library and Information Science, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in 2011.

The N.B.L. is open from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays year-round (unlike the Nichols Library and the 95th Street Library, which are open from 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Sundays September through May and from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays June through August).  It is open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays.

The address of the Naper Boulevard Library is 2035 South Naper Boulevard, Naperville, Illinois 60565.  The phone number for the Naperville Public Library is (630) 961-4100 and the extension for general information at the N.B.L. is 2212.


[1] Ann Piccininni, “A Family Worth celebrating,” Chicago Tribune, 21 September, 1990 (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1990-09-21-9003190330-story.html) Accessed 10/13/18

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