We sat down with Alex Lamis and Melissa DelVecchio of Robert A.M. Stern Architects to discuss the design decisions behind the Main Library block project and how it presented an opportunity to re-envision the Library and its impact on the South Bend community.

What was the Main Library Block project?

The Main Library Block Project consisted of the complete renovation of the current Main Library building, the construction of a new Community Learning Center and auditorium along Michigan Street, and the creation of a courtyard and greenspace.

  • Dedicated teen area that includes self-directed creative activities and technology support
  • Quiet spaces and more study rooms for reading, research, classwork, and group tasks
  • Updated Local and Family History space to protect unique local resources and promote study and research
  • Courtyard and greenspace for community programs and private events
  • Larger, more flexible, and more accessible spaces for community meetings, business trainings, events, conferences, and collaborative work
  • Expanded 250-seat auditorium to meet increasing demand for public program space and allow for a more diverse range of community and Library events
  • New public computer and digital lab space
  • Larger children’s area with age appropriate zones and parent and caregiver resource space

Have more questions?

June 2021

Terra cotta tiles from the Avon Theater are installed on the Community Learning Center and carpeting continues inside Main Library. 

May 2021

Carpeting begins inside Main Library and a site wall is poured around the Community Learning Center and courtyard. 

April 2021

Painting continues inside Main Library and masonry continues at the Community Learning Center. 

March 2021

Slate roofing tile and brick are added to the Community Learning Center and interior lighting is installed at Main Library.

February 2021

Walls are framed at the Community Learning Center and casing & windows are installed inside Main Library. 

January 2021

Crews begin work on the interior of the Community Learning Center, which has been insulated with DensGlass and plastic sheeting. 

December 2020

Roofing begins at the Community Learning Center and painting begins inside Main Library. 

November 2020

DensGlass is added to the Community Learning Center and Main Library windows are replaced. 

October 2020

Steel work is completed and concrete floors are poured for the Community Learning Center and adjoining corridors. 

September 2020

Steel is erected for the Community Learning Center and bubble glass is removed from Main Library. 

August 2020

Interior drywall installation begins, exterior corridors are constructed, and elevator shafts for the Community Learning Center are completed. 

July 2020

Steel is erected for interior walls and concrete is pumped for exterior walls. 

June 2020

Geo piers are installed, soil is excavated, and concrete is poured for the foundation of the Community Learning Center. 

May 2020

The Library Annex is demolished and interior demolition is completed. 

April 2020

Interior demolition continues and the grand staircase is removed. 

March 2020

Interior demolition begins at Main Library. 

February 21, 2020

The St. Joseph County Public Library, in partnership with the Community Foundation and the City of South Bend, celebrates the start of construction on the Main Library renovation and expansion projects at a groundbreaking ceremony in the Main Library plaza.

Photo by Becky Malewitz, Community Foundation of St. Joseph County

December 18, 2019

The Library releases construction documents for bidding. *Addenda to construction documents released. Bid opening changed from January 28 to February 3, 2020.

December 16, 2019

In celebration of its 20th anniversary, the African American Community Fund at the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County announces that it will match all gifts up to a total of $200,000 in support of the renovation and expansion of the Main Library.

December 2, 2019

Our new temporary Keller Park Branch opens to the public on Monday, December 2. The Keller Park Branch will be home to Studio 304 and Local & Family History Services while Main Library is closed for renovation. Keller Park Branch hours are 9AM to 5PM Monday through Saturday. Studio 304 is closed on Wednesdays.

Celebrate the opening of our new temporary location on Monday, December 2 with an Open House featuring crafts, refreshments, and giveaways.

November 1, 2019

Main Library is now closed. Visit our new, temporary Keller Park Branch beginning Monday, December 2.

July 22, 2019

The St. Joseph County Public Library board approves temporary hours beginning fall 2019. Beginning September 8, German Township and Centre Township Branches will be open from 1pm–5pm on Sundays. Beginning in November, Francis Branch and Centre Township Branch will be open from 10am–8pm Monday through Thursday.

June 24, 2019

The Community Foundation of St. Joseph County (CSFJC) announces that it has received a $3 million challenge grant from the Judd Leighton Foundation. This $3 million challenge grant will support the CSFJC’s $10 million commitment towards the renovation and expansion of the Main Library.

May 20, 2019

The St. Joseph County Public Library board and the South Bend Community School Corporation board approve a letter of intent to lease the first floor of the Brown Intermediate Center to serve as the temporary Main Library during work on the Main Library renovation and expansion projects.

April 22, 2019

The St. Joseph County Public Library board selects Bulley & Andrews LLC as construction manager for the Main Library project.

Bulley & Andrews, established in 1891 in Chicago, has managed numerous construction projects throughout the Midwest. Bulley & Andrews was the low bidder and the top of four finalists who bid on the project.

December 6, 2018

Executive Director Debra Futa and Alex Lamis & Melissa DelVecchio from Robert A.M. Stern Architects present the vision for the Main Library renovation and expansion projects at a Community Update in the Main Library’s Colfax Auditorium.

The images feature preliminary renderings of the exterior:

November 26, 2018

The South Bend Common Council votes unanimously to approve a three-way agreement with the library and the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County. Read more here

August 27, 2018

The below drawing is a rendering of the proposed Main Library Block. It is a concept drawing from RAMSA that shows what the new block could look like. 

February 5, 2018

We are pleased to announce Robert A. M. Stern Architects (RAMSA) as our selection to complete work on a Master Plan for the redevelopment of the Main Library Block in downtown South Bend.

For more information on RAMSA, click here

Want to be in the know with the latest library news?