Rakow Fireplace

For the first time in its 135 year history, the Gail Borden Public Library District opened its first branch. Opened on August 15, 2009, the “Rakow Branch,” located at 2751 W. Bowes Road, features a popular collection, a computer café, Zen gardens and a small “family room” with a fireplace. An external DVD dispenser, one of the first in a North American library, operates during all hours of the day and night, 365 days of the year.

The 10,000 square foot building, designed for expansion for up to 30,000 square feet, features environmentally sustainable elements and received gold LEED certification. (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Read about the branch’s “green” features (see below).

The “Rakow Branch” is the name of this branch library thanks to a generous donation to the Gail Borden Public Library Foundation. Community leaders and supporters Tom and Sue Rakow, their children and grandchildren chose to honor Melvin E. “Pete” and May T. Rakow and their daughter Barbara Rakow Rietz (Tom’s parents and sister)with this gift.

“We are so happy that this wonderful new branch will be named ‘Rakow.’ The family has been so instrumental in building this community that linking ‘Rakow’ and library for posterity is an extraordinarily great fit,” said Libby Hoeft, Gail Borden Public Library Foundation President.

“We are tremendously pleased that Tom and Sue Rakow and their family chose to honor the library district with this gift,” added Rick McCarthy, Gail Borden Public Library Board of Trustees President. “Their generosity will make a difference to this community for generations.”

Tom Rakow, Chairman of IHC Construction Companies LLC, explained that he and his family provided this support because “we think the library is critical to the well-being of the whole community.”

The Rakows have a long and significant history of supporting the community. They have been instrumental in sustaining many organizations and causes including the Ecker Center, the Boy Scouts, Easter Seals Jayne Shover Center telethon and the Larkin Center.

Tom is a past recipient of the United Way’s Willis A. Reed Humanitarian Award and Sue has been honored with the Distinguished Service Award by the Elgin Cosmopolitan Club.

Land for the branch was donated by Pulte Homes to the City of Elgin.

The architectural firm of Engberg Anderson Design Partnership of Milwaukee (WI) designed the branch. 

Questions?  Please call Denise Raleigh at (847) 429-5981.