(CBS) — A fire that destroyed several businesses along Irving Park Road last week also temporarily shut down a neighborhood library.

As WBBM’s Lisa Fielding reports, students and neighbors say they don’t want the library to reopen.

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They want it rebuilt.

“We need a new library. We need a new library,” chanted dozens of elementary students who left their classrooms Friday afternoon to show their support for the Independence Public Library, 3528 W. Irving Park Road.

The library has been relocated several times in its 126-year history and has been housed in a small storefront since 1998. The Oct. 30 fire destroyed a drycleaners, an auto repair shop and several other businesses. The library suffered extensive smoke and water damage, though none of it is visible from the street.

“Our community doesn’t deserve any more temporary fixes. We want a brand-spanking-new Inpendence Library in our neighborhood,” shouted Ann Anna Zolkowski of the Old Irving Park Association.

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This location is claimed to be the second most visited of the 80 branches. More than six schools utilize the library.

Smoke flows from a four-alarm fire along Irving Park Road. (Suzanne Le Mignot/CBS)

This was the scene Oct. 30 at a four-alarm fire along Irving Park Road. (Suzanne Le Mignot/CBS)

“We really need this library back. It’s a staple in the neighborhood. We come here every week and the schools use this. It’s a huge resource for us,” parent and Old Irving resident Rodney Smith said.

Lawmakers hope to secure the land that sits on the north side of Irving and Drake.

“The main important part is to secure that land,” Rep. Jaime Andrade, (D), 40th District, said.

“While this was a tragedy, we see this as a great opportunity to rise from the ashes,” Ward 33 Ald. Deb Mell said.

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Area patrons are encouraged to use libraries in Mayfair and Albany Park, but residents are concerned that those branches are too out of the way for children who go to school nearby.

Library patrons are the target audience at this closed library branch at the scene of a fire in Irving Park. (Lisa Fielding/WBBM)

Library patrons are the target audience of this notice at a closed library branch, at the scene of a fire in Irving Park. (Lisa Fielding/WBBM)