Since 1958, the American Library Association has sponsored a week in April that highlights libraries and the many services libraries offer. This year, National Library Week will be April 14 to 20, and the theme is "Communities Matter @ your library." I especially like this year’s “communities matter” theme because it communicates how important the community is for us at the library.
We believe our collections, programs and services should reflect the needs and wishes of our residents. Today's libraries are more than repositories of books and other resources. We offer e-books and automation-related classes, materials for English-language learners, and programs for job seekers, etc.
In a very diverse and complex society, the challenge for today’s librarian begins with listening to the needs of the community we serve and to respond to those needs.
We are a stronger organization because of our community volunteers. Our Friends of the Villa Park Library (VPL) contribute their time and fundraising talents providing a Murder Mystery Play each year, running concessions and an auction at our annual library mini-golf event, delivering books to the Metra station for "Rack at the Track," leading Sunday movie discussions, as well as sponsoring our holiday book adoption program (aka Giving Tree).
Over the years, our Friends of VPL have raised more than $20,000 for programs, materials, reading club prizes and furniture.
Working with our local businesses and other entities, such as our schools, our historical society, parks and recreation department, and others, make us more relevant to our community as well. Our combined efforts allow us to provide programs and services that we might not have been able to provide otherwise. We hope the end result is to contribute in making Villa Park an interesting and vibrant community in which to live.
During the next eight months, the Library Board and staff will be starting the development of a new three-year strategic plan. We will be surveying our residents and hosting community focus groups. We hope many of you will take the time to provide us with your thoughts.
Please be sure to contact me by calling 630-834-1164 ext. 111 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to become involved in the process. Community involvement is a key component in the success of any future plan.
Sandra D. Hill is the director of the Villa Park Public Library.