Library keeping busy with virtual programs, more

Every year, all 645 public libraries in Illinois submit an annual report to the state library. We answer questions about how many people attended programs (2,724), the number of books checked out (194,144) and total number of cardholders (8,794). This report helps legislators understand the scale and scope of the work that is funded by state grants and provides a resource for libraries to use in benchmarking their services against other libraries.

Questions are added or removed each year to reflect changes in use and service models. This year, for example, we were asked to include the number of virtual, in-person and “take home” programs and services we offered.

Virtual programs have certainly evolved in the past two years. Earlier this year, we joined forces with nearly 200 Illinois libraries to bring you Illinois Libraries Present, a virtual series showcasing prominent speakers. Sharing resources with our neighboring libraries allows us to reduce costs, maximize reach and bring nationally-recognized speakers to our patrons.

The hilariously candid Jenny Lawson, bestselling author of “Furiously Happy,” joins us virtually at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 30. She’ll be discussing her most recent bestseller, “Broken (in the best possible way)” and her brilliantly funny body of work.

Actor, humorist and woodworker Nick Offerman, best known for his role as Ron Swanson in “Parks and Recreation”, will discuss his newest book, “Where the Deer and the Antelope Play: The Pastoral Observations of One Ignorant American Who Loves to Walk Outside.” His hiking buddy, Jeff Tweedy of the band Wilco, will join him in conversation on April 27. To learn more about the upcoming speakers and to register, visit

Love all that libraries have to offer? Join us in celebrating National Library Week this spring. Recognized since 1958, it’s a time to highlight the changing role of libraries, librarians and library workers for one week every April. This year’s theme is “Connect with Your Library.”

When you visit the Library April 3-9, you can pick up a coloring sheet to take home or leave a note letting us know what the library means to you. Share a kind word with your favorite staff member on April 5, a day devoted to celebrating library workers. Connect with us on social media @hinsdalelibrary to see more ways we’re celebrating. While you’re online, use the hashtag #MyLibrary to publicly profess your love for us and you’ll be entered into a national contest. Visit for official rules.

Finally, one last call to connect with your culinary side. Registration filled fast but 10 extra Chopped! secret ingredient baskets will be prepared for pick up on April 1. Not kitchen-adventurous? Simply admire the culinary creations and vote for your favorites online on April 20 when all submitted entries will be featured on our Instagram page.

Staff retirement

At the end of the month, we will say farewell to one of our most tenured employees. Ellen Smith will be retiring after exactly 25 years at the Library. You won’t know her from a public service desk, but Ellen’s mark is on, well, everything. As the materials and building manager, she was responsible for processing and ordering all the items on our shelves and overseeing the daily maintenance of the entire building. (We promise to keep the shelves stocked and the building standing!) Her last day is March 31.

— Molly Castor is the marketing, outreach and data manager at the Hinsdale Public Library.