Des Plaines Public Library
Des Plaines, IL
Patrons Your Library Serves:
What was your first library job?
Working part-time in Circulation at the Skokie Public Library. An old friend was doing PR there, and she thought I’d really like the job and the people.
Why are you proud to be a librarian?
We are rewarded every day in little ways, by often being the first or only option a patron has for getting the information they need. We’re part of a community web of services that very directly affect the “public good.” It’s an old American concept of government serving the people, and I’m proud to be part of one of the remaining institutions that people still trust. ☺ As a longtime Readers’ Advisor, I also love seeing the value of a good story in so many people’s lives. Stories comfort and inspire, distract and amuse; they teach unwittingly and expand our imaginations.
How do you stay inspired?
Now that I’m not on the desk any more, I rely on the staff to tell me stories about their day. I pass these moments on to everyone I meet outside the library. I’m the town crier for the library.
What do you do for fun? What’s one thing people wouldn’t guess about you?
Pretty standard librarian stuff: reading, museums, travel. No one knows (or would guess) that I was a diehard Rocky Horror fan in my youth, and got dressed up in leather and fishnets every weekend. Fortunately there is no photographic evidence any more.
Describe your best day at the library. What made it memorable?
We’re right by O’Hare, and we often see flight attendants. After 9-11, a Delta attendant came in and talked to me about the great stress they were all under once they started flying again. They felt so much fear and grief. She was looking for a movie that would take her mind off everything, without being too emotional or jarring (no rom-coms or slapstick). She went home with The Dish, a gentle Australian comedy starring Sam Neill. I never saw her again – I hope she liked it.
What are your favorite Demco products? (Oldies but goodies and newbies welcome.)
We finally replaced our chairs on the children’s floor – for some unknown reason we had been using adult-sized wooden chairs for years – with bright blue “Flavors” chairs from Smith System. Finally kids can put their feet on the ground! We got them on castors, which is saving the carpet, and they are so cheerful.
If the sky were the limit, what would you do at your library? How do you envision your library in 2025?
Ha! Make one outside wall a green wall, put self-checks on every floor, install a fabulous piece of electronic, interactive art, install digital signage, create a $100,000 annual marketing budget, replace most of the shelving with lower, rolling shelving … Hire 5 more full-time staff. No wait, make that 10 more full-time staff!
I’m hoping we will see some major breakthrough in the logjam of ebooks, libraries and publishers. I think that will sort itself out the way Beta and VHS did in the 80s. So within ten years, we’ll have a nearly frictionless system to check out e-materials the way we do for print materials.
What’s the best piece of advice you have for your fellow librarians?
Be the person who says yes, not no. One of my colleagues always says, “How hard could it be?” when presented with a new idea. That’s a great approach to librarianship.