When I arrived at Warrenville Public Library back in 2018, I wanted to explore the benefits of active engagement and library outreach via creative programming and art. We already had a very popular and highly anticipated arts programs series for kids. Time and time again I would hear from parents who wished we also offered craft programs geared towards adults, they wanted in on the fun. In 2019, I set out to fill this need and pitched a casual pop-up program for adults. We made aromatic envelop sachets, paper roses and painted rocks.
At the end of last September, my co-worker Kathy, who also works at Big Rock Library in Big Rock, told me about an activity they were offering. She said, the Hinckley Big Rock High School FFA with help from the DeKalb County Farm Bureau had make up activity kits for kids about apples and were being offered for free to the local kids. She showed me a kit and what it contained and I knew I wanted to do the same thing for the Paw Paw Library.
In 2014, the Lisle Library District became one of the first public libraries in Illinois to offer a Seed Library to its patrons. The Village of Lisle is home to The Morton Arboretum and PrairieWalk Pond, among other outdoor attractions, and it was in keeping with the Village’s love of outdoor spaces that this project was created.
In March 2020, the Flossmoor Public Library was getting ready to go fine free. We were adding to our collection, to introduce Play-aways, because they had not really been a heavily requested item by our patrons until that winter. We had great in-person programming and a wide collection of materials to check out, both in person and electronically. We were introducing board games to give variety to our collection.
When the Glenview Public Library first shut its doors back in March, we found ourselves scrambling to help our patrons. As time went on, we started adapting to change and coming up with new ways to serve our community, and as winter approached and COVID-19 cases began to rise again, we knew there was a chance that the Library would again close to the public. To best serve our patrons, we knew we had to make some adjustments.
In 2019 BC (Before COVID), our library hosted a self-directed program for couples called “Date Night at the Library.” It was quite popular, and the plan was to run this program again this year, but we all know what happens to “best laid plans . . .” Even though we may not be able to invite couples in to explore the library in person, the concept can still be adapted for distance usage. The ultimate purpose is to get people to explore your collection, resources, and services.
As we say good-bye to 2020, it is customary to set goals moving into the new year. The promises we make for ourselves generally center on self-improvement and less on the impact we have on our community.
2020 was a year of suffering. From daily death tolls becoming a part of our lexicon to the fight for racial justice, this year has pushed our mental limits. Throughout it all libraries have been there to offer support, relief, and comfort for the individuals they served.
Oregon Public Library went fine free in January 2020. It seems like many moons ago, however, this philosophy change is still making its impact. As an organization, we decided that going fine free was an important change to make. Unfortunately, Oregon has not always had the best perception among community members and we are on a path to change that. Therefore it seemed like an extremely important step to make to have patrons feel welcome. We all know how it feels when we are told we have a fine and unfortunately many patrons feel a sense of shame.