The thermometer outside my house has been going up and up, but the thermometer on the poster in front of the Riverside Public Library — intended to show how fundraising is going to pay for the renovation of the building’s lower level — hasn’t moved much at all. 

The lower level of the library has seen many changes over the years. It was originally built out to house the children’s department, with child-sized shelves holding books appropriate for them. 

It was also the place where children would go for story time and where they learned that, while in the library, one must not talk — just whisper. Does anyone remember the card catalog or the Dewey Decimal System? 

Nowadays, the lower level serves many functions, from serving as a genealogy research center to hosting meetings, special programs and presentations. Yes, libraries have come a long way.

The plans for the lower-level renovation include an area for an early learners’ room for children through 5 years. To accommodate the smaller patrons, the Friends of the Library are raising funds for furniture and shelving that is appropriate. 

This area will be a good chance for children and families to learn the advantages of books and the use of the library as a resource center. The space was chosen for the early learners’ room in part because of its excellent view of the Desplaines River.

Money for the renovation is being raised from the proceeds of special events and private donations. So while you can’t do anything to prevent the mercury in your own thermometers from going up and down, you can help make the thermometer on the poster outside the Riverside Public Library steadily rise with your donation.

Get more information about the renovation plans and how to donate by visiting

You didn’t miss it! The Hot Air Balloon Affair has been rescheduled to Saturday, July 27 at the Big Ball Park on Longcommon Road in Riverside. Rides in the tethered balloon are slated to start at 6:30 p.m.

The event is sold out, but if you missed out on snagging a ticket, it ought to be a fun spectacle anyway. 

The event is presented by the Riverside Township Lions Club to commemorate Riverside’s sesquicentennial. The last time there were hot air balloons in Riverside was in 1975, for the centennial.