Get ready to celebrate National Library Week in April

I am fortunate to have met many delightful members of our community at Hinsdale Public Library's front desk.

Mr. S. was an avid reader. He had a positive, robust energy that was, on every meeting, infectious. He visited the library just about weekly and we always loved seeing him. He'd check out a stack of books and never needed a due date slip because he knew he would see us the following week. When other patrons were at the front desk, he would invariably let them know that this place, the library, was the very best place in Hinsdale.

"Absolutely wonderful!" he would declare with a smile, building a warm connection with his fellow Hinsdaleans. He shared this with an enthusiasm he assumed others understood, or would come to understand. He seemed to especially recognize this with young families and early readers. I believe it brought him joy to see readers in the making. He would also let others know how wonderful the staff was.

"The best people!" he'd say.

We brightened in his praise. Though he passed several years ago, we feel his absence to this day - and his presence as well.

I think of him especially as National Library Week approaches. Every April, Hinsdale Public Library joins libraries across the country for a week - this year, the week of April 7 - to reflect on how we add value to the communities we serve. Mr. S. acknowledged that HPL enriched his life and his community and he helped us spread our message far and wide.

Perhaps you have a friend or new neighbor who doesn't have an HPL card yet. Why not tell them your own story of how you enjoy using your library card?

During the month of April, send friends or neighbors living in incorporated Hinsdale to the library to get a library card, or have them visit We will ask who sent them, and you both will be entered in a raffle to celebrate library cardholders and our shared love of reading, ideas and information. Winners will receive a gift card to Toni's in May.

Why does having a card matter? We welcome everyone, whether they have a card or not, but there are certain benefits only a Hinsdale cardholder receives. Cardholders can reserve study rooms in advance online. They can access downloadable ebooks, online periodicals like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, and other digital resources.

They can even borrow pre-loaded Kindles, a projector and screen, or an internet hotspot. Cardholders can also order 3D printed objects, check out heirloom seeds, and even reserve free passes to the Brookfield Zoo and area museums.

Access to the global library catalog WorldCat is another service we offer cardholders. It allows us to offer access to materials from lending institutions across the country. While our local SWAN consortium of over 100 area libraries provides easy access to 10 million items, there are millions more available from public and research institutions around the world.

These items help local authors research novels, as well as stamp collectors, genealogists, art enthusiasts, and more - we have helped them all! Hinsdale cardholders are able to request loans for books and articles not found in our local consortium on our website or by speaking with a librarian. 

Help us celebrate National Library Week by telling a friend or neighbor about a service you love. Whether it's getting your grandparent's manuscript from an archive in Oklahoma or placing a hold on your next book club pick, Mr. S. might tell you that your Hinsdale Public Library card is the most valuable one in your wallet.

- Martha Kennedy is patron services manager at Hinsdale Public Library.