Merlo Public Library






Ross Barney Architects



Recording Studio

Childrens Maker Lab

Childrens Area

Adult & Teen Area

Reading Lounge

Community Room


GSCC was tasked with the 15,000 square foot renovation and modernization of the existing John Merlo Public Library in the Lakeview community of Chicago. Merlo Branch Library first opened to the Public in September 14, 1942. The two story building was designed by City Architect Paul Gerhardt, while sculptor Abbott Pattison designed the Freize above the front entrance. The building was renovated in 1988, and in June 1993, the former Lake View Branch Library was renamed in memory of John Merlo, a local community leader and long time Chicago Politician.

On September 2019 GSCC undertook the interior and facade demolition with a six month turnaround schedule for all renovations and upgrades. The MBE/WBE goal for the project of 32% was exceeded with Substantial Completion achieved in early March 2020. The existing facade required extensive masonry wall repairs, lintel replacements and new tuckpointing. Roof replacement and rework for the new rooftop mechanical equipment was undertaken and all new windows, storefronts and entrances were installed. Structural beams were added below roof level for support of the rooftop equipment and structural lintels and beams provided where new openings in existing masonry and precast plank from basement to roof level.

Interior refurbishments included build out of new walls and repairs to existing, as well as all new flooring and ceiling systems. All existing Mechanical, Plumbing and Electrical equipment and systems were replaced with new and upgraded as necessary. ADA accessibility was provided at the new South Entrances including new ramps and automatic doors. Upgraded Security and Fire Alarm systems were installed to meet new codes and Owner requirements.

The Library will now continue to offer traditional Library services to the local community as well as provide all the flexible spaces and services featured in 21st Century Libraries. The historic branch will now serve the neighborhood with a large Community Space, a dynamic Childrens Area with access to a new Maker Lab and an Early Learning Play Space. In addition, the new facility has provided a large enclosed You Media space with sound proofed Recording Studio room for teens and adults as well as Computer Areas, Group Study and Reading Spaces.