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Local News

Berwyn Public Library has a friend with a green thumb

BERWYN — When Mary Peranteau moved into Berwyn in 2004, one of the first things she did was get a library card. Since then, she has made her mark on the Berwyn Public Library, inside and out.

Peranteau serves as vice-president on the board of the Friends of the Library, which raises money through fundraising events and membership dues for library programs, materials, special equipment and services. The Friends also work hard to promote the library in the community. 

Take a look outside and Peranteau’s handiwork can be seen among the numerous native plantings on the library campus. She heads up the library’s Gardening Club and has lent her gardening expertise in selecting plants for the grounds and helped develop a program to educate the community on native gardening. 

Through the generosity of the Berwyn Kiwanis Club, a prairie garden was established by Art and Linda’s Wildflowers of Cicero, which is maintained, along with other plantings on the campus, by Peranteau and a crew of volunteers.

It all started for her in 2004, she said.

“I got involved, I saw they were trying to develop a garden club,” she said. “I submitted my name and went to one of their meetings. It was in the planning stage and that’s how I got involved.”

Gardening has been a big part of Peranteau’s adult life, she said. She lived in Southern California and moved to the area in the 1970s. She began taking classes at the Morton Arboretum “and it’s continued since that time,” she said.

Her interest isn’t limited to the outside of the library, however. Peranteau and the Friends developed a “leave a book, take a book” program at the Berwyn Metra station and maintain the Library’s on-going book sale. It is through the efforts of the Friends that local romance writer Myrna Mackenzie will be the guest for the Guilty Pleasures event, featuring Mackenzie and chocolate April 19.

Parteneau said she was really very happy with the current Friends of the Library and the Library Board.

“Our library is really well utilized,” she said “I see the library as a vital civic place, a place to come to and get to know your neighbors.”

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