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Library of the Year Wauconda Courier Article

February 10, 2005

Consortium honors Wauconda Library

BY C. M. SCHMIDLKOFER
STAFF WRITER

When a hometown library makes it big, there's cause to celebrate.

The Wauconda Area Public Library was named "Library of the Year" by the North Suburban Library System -- a consortium of 650 public, school, academic and special libraries in the north and northwest suburbs.

Now in its 13th year, the award recognizes the library's efforts to combine community focus, creativity and collaboration through the consortium's system-wide and state-wide projects which benefit the entire North Suburban Library System community.

"We're especially proud of this award given the size of our staff and budget," said Tom Kern, library director. "It tells the community even though we're a small library that it gets a lot done. The community is getting a great value for the tax dollars it spends."

The North Suburban Library System award committee cited the library on its many successful projects in 2004 including the creation of its e-newsletter.

"That's a very good example for our other libraries," said Judy Hoffman, North Suburban Library System spokesperson.

Working with the United Partnership for a Better Community, the library was a major contributor to the success of the NorthStarNet community calendar, which serves 120 communities.

"This site is very good for this community and particularly the library," Kern said. "Even though it is a very sophisticated system the cost was minimal to the library."

Also notable were the increased efforts of library staff during the annual "Library Card Sign Up Month" in September.

"The Library Card Sign Up Month was the best ever," Kern said. "We broke previous years' records and for that we owe thanks to the business community."

The library surpassed the previous year's record for business contributors, too, with 110 business partners supporting the program.

A celebratory banquet is planned by the North Suburban Library System in March to honor of the library's achievements in which a plaque will be presented to the library.

In addition, a photograph of the library will be displayed in the North Suburban Library System's Wheeling location.

"We find doing this type of recognition gives affirmation of what they've been doing," said North Suburban Library System Assistant Director Sarah Long. "It is a boost for the board and staff."

Long recalled how one library had a banner printed of its achievement and placed it the facility's entrance.

When a corporate library won the award, the library staff was congratulated by the president, Long said.

But what Kern likes best about the award is how the entire library staff is recognized.

"It's nice to get recognition for all we've accomplished," he said. "We've worked hard to achieve so many things."

Kern cited the efforts from the Library Board, Wauconda School District 118 and the many community organizations in the library district with helping the library achieve the honor.

"We can all share in the congratulations with the community," he said.

C. M. Schmidlkofer can be reached at cschmidlkofer@pioneerlocal.com.