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Glen Ellyn Public Library: The First Century 1907-2007

At my first meeting with the director, I learned that the new library building was not so new any more.  The library will have been around 15 years in 2010.  The building has been expanding and growing with time and the community.  But, time does take a toll.  The building itself is in need of updating and a few repairs.  By reading Glen Ellyn Public Library: The First Century 1907-2007, I was able to follow the history of this building and the original concept of the library.  Detailed throughout the history, the community plays a prominent roll in getting referendums passed and money raised for improvements, renovations, and space.

It seems to me that from the beginning, the community wanted a library.  They did not just want a room or shelf of books available, but a library.  It is states on page 4. “That several members of the original committee consulted with Miss Bessie Baldwin, the librarian at Wheaton, for instruction on the preparation of books for the new library.”

Since then the library and the community have gone through periods of growth, prosperity, challenges, depression, and growth again.  The cycle continues to this day.  One element that has not change is the constant partnership between the library and the community.  In order for the new building to exist, again the community was called upon for resources.  Though this time, there was more to the community than just the residence.  On page 47, it states that there was intergovernmental cooperation between the various bodies of government.  The school board purchased the old facility and the village board moved a parking lot to put the library on a prominent corner space.  Each body of government valued what the new library would do for the entire community.

This cooperation with the community can also be seen in the day to day operations at the library.  On page 52, it states that in 1999, the library witnessed a decline in national and local library usage, primarily due to the internet.  The library’s dedicated team, with a passion for library service refused to accept that situation.  They conducted a detailed survey of the Glen Ellyn residents and long term library users to find out what they wanted from the library.  They quickly put a plan in place to adjust and within two years the Glen Ellyn Public Library usage us up 12%, bucking the continued downward national trend.

These are just a few examples of how the library works with the community to establish a better place for all.  There are many more examples in this book, in news letters, and on the website of the community and library working together.