2021 Annual Report

Page 1


at the

Arlington Heights Memorial Library

Message from the Executive Director A year unlike any other, 2021 simultaneously challenged and motivated us here at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library. With equal parts innovation and determination, time and again, staff met the ongoing challenges dealt by the pandemic and came up with new and creative ways of serving our community: got items to customers, engaged with customers, delivered services, held programs online, held programs in-person, launched new collections, staged exhibits and broadened our reach through new community partnerships and unprecedented library-to-library collaborations…the list goes on and on. Amidst all of this, we also became a Fine Free library beginning in January 2021. And in September, we opened the Makerplace, our new 8,000–square-foot makerspace and center for hands-on experiential learning located at 112 N. Belmont Avenue, just a few blocks from the main library. I couldn’t be prouder of all that we accomplished in 2021 and even more so of the staff, my colleagues, who made it happen. Thank you to them and to our Friends of the Library and Foundation for their ongoing support and to the community we all serve. Thank you for being a part of our library’s story and the year that was 2021.

Mike Driskell


2021 Message from the President of the Library Board of Trustees 2021 was another adventurous year for Arlington Heights and for your library. As soon as we settled into what we thought was the new normal, it all changed again. What is impressive, though, is how both staff and the community have handled the constant changes. Thank you to all for their patience and flexibility as we all made our way through the year. One of the accomplishments we are incredibly proud of in 2021 is the opening of the Makerplace; a three-and-a-half year long project that culminated in September; an 8,000-square-foot testament to how working together as a community we can accomplish something that works for all. Thank you to the Foundation, Friends of the Library, the Village of Arlington Heights and all the corporate sponsors who pitched in. Also, we are incredibly proud of our continued fiscal responsibility. Our Board takes its responsibility seriously in regards to providing you with the services that you need and deserve, while also being good stewards of all of our money. Once again, we accomplished everything without increasing the tax levy. As we enter 2022, your Board of Trustees is ready to take on the challenges of tomorrow and make sure we provide you a place of learning, comfort and safety.

Greg Zyck

Friends of the Library sales raise funds During the last two years, the Friends of the Library found creative ways to hold sales and serve the community. They held outdoor market sales in the library’s underground garage, when necessary, and in December alone they raised $6,848.36–double what they had made at any previous holiday sale. In 2020-2021, the Friends raised more than $50,000 for the library and were able to sponsor many library programs and services, including Dann and Raymond's Movie Club, Sunday Musicales, outreach and reading programs, the butterfly garden, internal landscaping maintenance, One Book, One Village, Summer Reading Program, library card sign-up, Summer Volunteer Squad, Welcome Baby cards and giveaways, the Makerplace and the Snoopy exhibit. Since their founding, the Friends have contributed more than $1.2 million to the libary.

The AHML Foundation supported several library initiatives

Library Foundation supports Makerplace

this past year, most notably, the library’s new Makerplace. Fundraising efforts totaling $117,097 supported the purchase of kitchen equipment and supplies, demolition and

construction of the sewing area, and flooring, sinks and faucets in the fine arts area. Additional discounts facilitated by the Foundation and in-kind donations totaling $91,046 supported the kitchen, furniture, and doors, framing and hardware. The Foundation was also the recipient of donations raised at two community fundraisers, the Back Yard Art Auction and Jeff Fest, yielding more than $15,000.

Goodbye fines, hello 2021


The Arlington Heights Memorial Library kicked off 2021 by officially becoming Fine Free! On January 2, any outstanding fines from 2020 were waived and since then—no more library fines! This momentous change coincided with the onset of auto-renewal. Staff shared these exciting changes at the drive-up, the Dunton walk-up station and the Checkout Desk. With the new Fines Free and Auto-Renew policy, customers are still responsible for the items they borrow, and the items must be returned or borrowing privileges may be suspended. The community embraced the changes with more than 8,000 long overdue items being returned since the

Fine Free

library went fine free and 1,001 inactive accounts being reinstated. “The focus has shifted to simply getting the materials back on time and continuing to allow access to the library,” said Executive Director Mike Driskell. “Moving to a fine-free model helps eliminate inequitable access to library services and resources.”

New ways of delivering service overcame building closure Even though the building was closed to the public in early 2021, library services continued as staff re-imagined new ways of serving customers. Copying, printing, faxing and scanning equipment were moved from inside the library and made available to customers at a new self-service station located in the vestibule of the library's underground parking garage. Everything in the area was self-directed and 609 customers dropped by and used the tech stop equipment in January alone. Arlington Heights cardholders could also check out a laptop, use remote printing or book a virtual one-on-one appointment to get technology help over Zoom or by telephone.

At the front entrance of the library, staff helped 1,171

Walk up, drive up provide options for picking up items

customers in January at the new Dunton walk-up station. This gave customers without a vehicle an option for hold pick ups during the building closure due to the pandemic. Activity kits, themed children’s book bundles, and new and popular adult items were on display for checkout. Staff also took requests at the door to pull items on the spot while a customer waited. The drive-up window was also in high gear. In January alone, some 11,000 cars used the window to pick up holds, program supplies, print jobs, activity kits and more; a 75 percent increase from 2020. During peak times, up to 70 cars visited the window per hour. Throughout 2021, a total of 77,891 cars ended up using the drive-up window, a 14.9 percent increase from the previous year. In January, staff filled 37,183 customer holds, an increase of 55 percent over January 2020.

Bookmobile outreach rolls on through rain and snow When the main library building was closed, the bookmobile continued bringing materials to the community, offering contactless hold pick up with convenience and safety top of mind. Some 20,000 customers visited the bookmobile in 2021. One of the bookmobile’s most memorable days of service came in January 2021 when over 20 inches of snow blanketed the area, more than 10 inches above normal! Bookmobile staff met mother nature’s challenge and shoveled paths for customers who repeatedly thanked staffers Ron Moravec and Al Garcia for still making it out with materials on an extra snowy day.



BIN Makerplace construction underway Interior renovations began at the Makerplace in winter and continued throughout the spring season. Ceiling

Binge Boxes prove to be a customer favorite

renovations, electrical wiring, internet connectivity, paint colors, new equipment arrivals and more.

As people hunkered down at home, the debut of Binge Boxes at the library couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. Binge Boxes are expertly curated DVD sets covering actors, themes and genres to keep viewers entertained for hours. Conveniently packaged in one DVD case, these boxes bring together a suite of complementary films. The library started with 60 boxes in December 2020 and an additional 59 were added throughout


2021. Binge Boxes circulated 692 times in 2021, making them a fan favorite of library customers.

Welcome Back!

As January came to a close, the library was able to open its building to the public once again on January 27. Visitors discovered new electronic signage which helped customers stay informed about the latest updates and safety guidelines at the library. The Grab & Go book bundles and activity kits remained a convenient and popular addition. And yes, there were smiles under those face masks as customers once again returned to the library.

LitCrates for teens and adults LitCrate launched as a subscription service for adults and teens in December 2020 with boxes being ready for customers to pick up starting in January 2021. Customers provided their reading preferences when registering and library staff put together a LitCrate for each participant that contained a book selection and extra special surprises such as a candle, a bookmark with a recipe, a pen and notebook, and more. Adult customers signed up for six-month sessions and received a LitCrate every other month. A total of 55 adult customers signed up for LitCrate during 2021, which resulted in 165 boxes curated. 285 teen participants also signed up for LitCrate in 2021 and due to demand, the library began offering monthly LitCrates for teens. Capacity for adult LitCrates has increased to 50 customers for each session in 2022 as well. Both teen and adult customers responded enthusiastically to the library's LitCrate service.

FEB New location for English as a Second Language & Literacy Office The English as a Second Language & Literacy Office was relocated to the first floor in 2021, making it easier to find, providing increased visibility to the library’s ESL and Literacy services closer to the collection. The new office opened its doors in February and offered a hybrid selection of services, in-person appointments and continued to deliver a robust schedule of online classes and tutoring.

Vaccine resources page provides important information The library’s role as a trusted source for information took on new meaning in 2021 as many turned to the library asking, “Where can I get a COVID vaccine?” The library’s COVID-19 Vaccine Resources page was created in response to these inquiries and garnered 2,163 page visits in February alone. Created and maintained by Info Services staff, the page saw many visitors actively using the information provided.

Parenting Collection offers guidance, support With more than 200 titles in the new Parenting Collection in Kids' World to choose from, parents are not alone in their search for guidance on raising

The page detailed availability of vaccines and was updated

confident kids, seeking solutions to behavioral

frequently with information on eligibility, boosters,

problems, teaching them to love vegetables or tips on

COVID-19 testing sites and how to access Vax Verify for


Illinois residents.

As one customer shared, “The Parenting Collection

The library supported community partners like the

has been an essential resource for me even before my

Arlington Heights Park District and helped spread the word

baby arrived. I started using the collection during my

on its vaccine clinics held in Arlington Heights. The library

pregnancy, and now I’ve used it at every age and

also gave away close to 5,000 vinyl COVID-19 vaccination

stage from sleep training to starting solids. The

card protective pouches to customers in 2021.

amount of parenting information available on the internet can be overwhelming, so the AHML parenting collection is my first stop for reliable information." This collection was developed in support of the Arlington Heights Memorial Library’s Family Place Libraries’ certification process. Items circulated 411 times in 2021.

MAR Forts and flashlights provide fun from home Youth Services provided a variety of ways families could engage in interactive programs from the comfort of home in 2021, and the forts and flashlights program was just one of them. Staff brought back a little old-fashioned family fun with an

Library cards offer easy access from anywhere

evening program that included creating forts,

From 2020 to 2021, the availability of online library cards

In all, Youth Services staff delivered 490 programs in

became an invaluable resource that provided the Arlington

2021. Of those, 192 were delivered virtually in the

Heights community with regular access to library services.

first half of the year. Beginning in May, staff

From March 2020 to the end of 2021, a total of 1,702 new

transitioned to mostly in-person programs with

online cards were issued.

many held outdoors during the summer months.

“The inspiration was to allow customers access to the materials they were missing while the building was closed (in 2020),” said Community and Circulation Services Manager Shannon Meyer. “We knew customers who had cards already were enjoying the increased access to eBooks. We wanted to let anyone in Arlington Heights be able to access these same materials as simply as possible.” An online library card provides access to electronic resources such as eBooks and eAudiobooks, streaming services and online magazines, and library databases. Library card sign ups were up overall in 2021, with 3,836 cards issued in 2021, and 2,577 cards issued in 2020.

flashlight games, shadow puppet fun and a campfire singalong.

Illinois license plate renewal stickers become available Starting in April, Illinois residents were able to renew and purchase their license plate stickers at the library. A total of 224 stickers were issued in 2021. The service has been received very positively by customers who are grateful for the convenience.


Teens supported during finals In April, the Hub’s Teen Advisory Board developed Survival Kits to support students as they prepared for final exams. Teen librarians worked with school librarians to offer kits in schools and the Hub. And as District 214 high schoolers geared up for final exams in December, the library welcomed back 754 teens for Finals Study Lounge after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Extra tables were offered throughout the library and the second-floor conference rooms were also a popular destination, with 44 percent of teens using these rooms. To curb stress and anxiety, Hub staff wheeled around a snack trolley, offered a meditation program with a yoga instructor and provided DIY craft kits.


Library of Things collection grows The Library of Things collection of more than 500 items ranging from tech tools and board games to musical instruments and wireless hotspots grew in 2021 thanks in part to the library's Suggest a Purchase form on the website. In 2021, 121 new items were added to the Library of Things. Some unique items include a label maker, heat press, radon detector, bingo set, knife sharpener, color blind glasses and Rokus loaded with popular streaming services.

Popular Storytime in the Park programs expand As a response to the pandemic’s impact on in-person storytimes, the popular Storytime in the Park series was expanded by two months in 2021, running from May to August. Library staff developed and delivered 30 storytimes and engaged 2,233 customers in neighborhood parks. A mother with her preschoolers expressed that it was one of the highlights of their summer to enjoy the stories and music with other parents and children.

Senior Center Reading Room reopens As restrictions lifted, the Senior Center Reading Room returned to life mid-May. Seating areas and newspapers were back, and hours were extended Monday through Friday. Reading Room visitors and circulation had an impressive jump from the prior month with 62 percent and 23 percent increases, respectively.

Butterflies released for Monarch Month Youth Services celebrated Monarch Month with storytimes, activities and a butterfly release. Staff coordinated with the Sierra Club to distribute milkweed seeds for families to grow and on May 18, Storytime in the Park culminated with releasing the library-grown butterflies. On Saturday, May 22, the Magic of Monarchs storytime welcomed customers, and the Tween Advisory Group crafted wooden butterfly ornaments to fly over the library’s butterfly garden.

Your City @ Home offers cultural experiences In spring 2021, the library partnered with more than 40 area libraries to offer Your City @ Home, a series of Saturday afternoon experiences with nine museums and institutions. Attendees were treated to customized virtual tours from Chicago mainstays such as Chicago Children’s Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum, to suburban gems Elmhurst History Museum and Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. More than 300 Arlington Heights residents took advantage of the niche tours. Recordings of the events were available on YouTube for two weeks each, extending the reach.


A stroll and a story In partnership with Arlington Heights Park District, the library installed a StoryWalks® at Lake Arlington from June through August 2021. StoryWalks® were also presented at the library on Vail Street and throughout Kids’ World in February and April. A StoryWalk® is a way for children and their families to enjoy reading and the outdoors at the same time. Pages from a children's book are attached to display panels which are installed along a path. As you stroll down the trail, you're directed to the next page in the story.


Successful partnership events flourish in a pandemic year

Eve Ewing • Alex Kotlowitz • Charlie Donlea • Megan Miranda• Richard Rothstein • Cathy Park Hong • Lynsey Addario

Arlington Heights Memorial Library collaborated to offer nine multi-library partnership special events in 2021. These featured special guests from bestselling authors in conversation with one another, and with journalists from WBEZ and Chicago Tribune, to the nationally renowned Sound Opinions music critics, filmmakers and a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist. In total, these events reached 5,408 attendees, with 660 Arlington Heights customers attending. The library collaborated with Glenview Public Library to launch a smaller, year-long partnership series based on the Bloomsbury-published book series, 33 ⅓. Launched in June 2021, 396 music lovers enjoyed the deep dive into albums they love via this virtual series. Recordings of 33 ⅓ events, produced by the library and available on our YouTube channel, have reached an additional 1,311 viewers.

Littlest artists welcomed back Return to in-person tutoring for ESL and literacy customers

Youth Services staff were thrilled to welcome back the library’s littlest customers for the first in-person program in the Hendrickson Room for 2021, Pee Wee Artists, on June 10. One caregiver burst into

June marked a return to in-person tutoring for

tears of joy when seeing Ms. Rebecca for the first

English as a Second Language & Literacy

time since the pandemic began.

customers. Ninety customers received one-on-one in-person or virtual ESL tutoring in 2021 with the help of library volunteers.


New children’s Playaways let kids listen on-the-go Children’s Playaways, a small device that holds one audiobook and only requires headphones to listen, hit the shelves in June, and within two weeks, all were checked out. Playaways provide access to audio versions of popular books in a kid-friendly format on self-contained devices, with a variety of titles to choose from including Harry Potter and Captain Underpants. The library quickly expanded the collection due to its popularity, starting with 29 items in June, and by year’s end the library had 147 titles.

Volunteers give back The library’s volunteers delivered their time and talent throughout the year, with more than 13,000 hours of service contributed through the combined efforts of 446 volunteers in 2021. For homebound customers in particular, access to library materials is especially important. In June through December, library delivery volunteers assisted with delivering more than 4,500 items to homebound customers.

JUL Conference Rooms, Studio re-open After more than a year of closure, the conference rooms and the library’s Studio re-opened on July 1. Customers wasted no time booking conference rooms, with usage up 50 percent by the end of the first month, and visitors booking Studio time to get creative with digital media projects.

15th Annual Teen Film Fest hits the big screen This year’s Teen Film Fest played outside at Recreation Park as part of the Movies in the Park series, partnering with the Arlington Heights Park District. A pre-recorded portion of the event featured returning judges, YouTuber and film reviewer Tamara Chambers and documentary filmmaker and former filmmaker-in-residence Matt Lauterbach, and the library’s teen filmmakers. Staff screened the recording on August 13 for 75 attendees with complementary activities, outdoor games and a photo op station complete with red carpet.


Youth give back to community

This summer, the library was pleased to bring back Summer Volunteer Squads after it was put on hold in 2020. Ninety-nine Arlington Heights teens took time out of their busy lives to volunteer a total of 670 hours with the library. Squads planned a variety of programming for youth, created grab-and-go book bundles for Kids’ World customers and designed summer activity kits for all ages, adding to the success of the summer reading program. A total of 1,590 youth joined the library’s summer reading program in 2021.

Page Turners wrap up first full year The new Page Turners Facebook group started in September 2020 and continued throughout 2021, marking its first full year as an established group. The Facebook group is an adult readers group where members get to discuss all things reading-related and talk books with each other and with library advisors. In 2021, 99 new members joined the Page Turners Facebook group. The Adult Summer Reading Program carried over the Page Turners theme, running June to August, with 281 adults registered for the program. Summer participants completed 1,196 activities and earned 184 badges.


Library welcomes the public to new Makerplace The library's Makerplace officially debuted on Sunday, September 19 with a grand opening celebration which included welcoming remarks by library officials and Mayor Tom Hayes followed by a ceremonial opening of the building's front doors. Throughout the afternoon, close to 500 attendees took a guided tour of the new makerspace and learned about the many things visitors ages 12 and up can do using technology and creative equipment along with flexible workspaces and a commercial-grade kitchen. Nearly 400 waivers were signed to use the equipment and kitchen and 29 people signed up for new library cards at the event. The Makerplace is the library's new center for hands-on experiential learning located at 112 N. Belmont Avenue


near Recreation Park. The support of the Arlington Heights Memorial Library Foundation and the Friends of the Library was essential in helping bring the makerspace to the Arlington Heights community.

SEP Portrait of a Soldier partnership and exhibit On the 20th anniversary of September 11, the library partnered on bringing a remembrance ceremony and Portrait of a Soldier exhibit to the Arlington Heights community and Illinois Gold Star families. The exhibit featured more than 300 hand-drawn portraits of Illinois service members who made the ultimate sacrifice. Presented in partnership with SALUTE, INC., the Veterans Memorial Committee of Arlington Heights and other partners, the exhibit opened with a preview event with former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, local Gold Star family members and project partners from the region. September 11 events began with a remembrance ceremony at First Presbyterian Church, attended by more than 200, and included a reading of the names of Illinois’ fallen heroes. Guests then walked to the library where staff and partners welcomed guests, along with Gov. Quinn and Kiana and Donald Jeremiah, two of the exhibit’s artists. The exhibit was viewed by more than 400 people, including 14 Gold Star families, on opening day alone. An estimated 3,201 community members and visitors engaged with the exhibit throughout September. Eighty community members also wrote letters to troops which were delivered via Operation Gratitude.

Accessibility Support Collection launches in Kids’ World

OCT The library debuted its new Accessibility Support Collection after many years of planning and development in October thanks to a generous donation from C.I.T.Y. of Support (Children In Therapy and You). “It demonstrates to the community that we see these families, we acknowledge that you're here, and we want to support you,” said Beth Deiter from C.I.T.Y. of Support. The partnership’s newest resource features more than 350 items, including books for kids and adults; toys designed to support motor, social, cognitive, visual and auditory skill development; therapeutic and adaptive technology tools and more. “If you’re spending money for your child to try something out and they don't like it, it keeps adding up,” said Youth Services Assistant Manager Maria Papanastassiou. “And you don't want to have to make that investment in purchasing something that's expensive that might not work for your family.” The collection supports those with learning differences, including speech-language, sensory processing, neurodevelopmental, visual processing, auditory processing, motor and orthopedic disabilities.


A commitment to inclusion, accessibility The library celebrated Inclusion Awareness Month in October for the fourth year in a row, recognizing its commitment to offering resources and programs and enhanced accessibility. The library offered programs including a storytime in American Sign Language and in-person and virtual resource hours that provided residents the opportunity to connect with organizations such as Have Dreams, RTA Mobility Management and Illinois Telecommunications Access Corporation. The library partnered with Northwest Special Recreation Association to host a Fairytale Fling featuring a DJ and dancing. Twenty-eight adults with disabilities attended the event, where they danced, enjoyed games and crafts, voted in a “Best Dressed” contest and took home a photobooth keepsake. Ninety people attended a Low Vision Products Road Show co-sponsored by The Chicago Lighthouse, where attendees learned about assistive products including magnifiers, portable reading devices, independent living aids, accessibility software and more. Staff connected attendees to the library’s large print collection, the Illinois State Library Talking Book service, community resource information and library delivery services. Staff from the Chicago Lighthouse said it was the highest attendance they have ever had at a Road Show and would love to partner with the library to host another event in 2022.

One Book, One Village wraps up another successful year Fans of Robin Wall Kimmerer and her inspiring collection of essays, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, joined the author and former host of Worldview Jerome McDonnell in conversation as part of the culminating event for this fall’s One Book, One Village, the library’s annual community read, now in its eighth year. It was the second year the signature event was held on Zoom and with 626 attendees, it marked the largest audience ever for a One Book, One Village program. The YouTube video broadcast after her event was also viewed more than 500 times. Between August and October 2021, Braiding Sweetgrass had been checked out more than 1,100 times. An Evening with Robin Wall Kimmerer was supported, in part, by the Friends of the Library.

Fun and games and a Boo-mobile One of the library’s most popular seasonal events for families, Halloween Fun, was held over a two-day period in October 2021, filled with games, crafts and activities throughout Kids’ World and engaged 288 customers over a total of six sessions. More than 150 people stopped by the spooky Boo-mobile at the annual Arlington Heights Trunk N Treat event and many customers snapped photos throughout the day in the ghost-themed photo-op.

Makerplace programs kick off with essentials classes After offering daily tours in September, programs officially kicked off in October at the library’s new Makerplace, with specialists leading customers through a series of programs covering the basics of 3D printing, laser cutting, sewing and vinyl cutting. Overall, 15 programs were offered with 143 attendees during this first month of classes. "I really wanted to take a class here, and I've never done sewing before," said Carol Nesvacil, who first toured the Makerplace on opening day. Impressed by the building and all the opportunities to create, Nesvacil signed up for a sewing class along with her daughter Clara, a freshman at Harper College. "I've sewn before making costumes in high school but I but I was taught by peers, so this is my first sewing classclass," said Clara. "It's good practice so now if I want to come back and do something again, I know what to do." "I have a daughter and I thought it would be fun to make make something for her, so that was my motivation," said Chikako Nakamura, who sewed a tote bag for her five-year-old daughter. "I'm so proud of myself.”


New library hours begin Beginning Monday, October 18, the library transitioned to new hours of operation, staying open later on weekdays and on Sundays.


Snoopy and the Red Baron opens on Veterans Day Snoopy and the Red Baron opened to the public on Veterans Day, November 11. This travelling exhibit from the Charles M. Schulz Museum celebrated one of Snoopy’s most recognized personas through high-quality reproductions of original Peanuts’ comic strips and other Snoopy historical objects. Visitors flocked to the exhibit, sharing memories of growing up with the comic strip. To enhance the customer experience for Snoopy and the Red Baron, library volunteers served as docents providing guided tours to more than 100 visitors in November and December.

Makerplace programs continue to grow Programming for the Makerplace continued to great success. Nineteen programs were offered with 222 total attendees. Culinary programs debuted in the kitchen and proved to be incredibly popular. “I used to make strawberry jam with my grandmother, but I’ve never canned before,” said Tracey Henkel, who had recently toured the Makerplace with her family before attending the Jamming at the Library class on November 3. “It doesn’t seem too hard, I might try it at home.”

Holiday Book Drive returns Customers, staff and community groups contributed to the library's Holiday Book Drive, which returned in 2021 after a hiatus due to the pandemic. In 2021, more than 853 books were generously donated for infants, children and teens for Wheeling Township's Adopt-a-Family program. Library staff and volunteers, the Rolling Green Country Club Women’s Golf Association, the Lakeshore Circle Book Club and Thomas Middle School made special contributions to this effort. The library book drive has provided more than 22,038 books to children and teens in need since 1998.

Library and seniors meet milestone one phone call at a time When the pandemic cut off in-person visitation to senior and assisted living residences, the library’s Senior and Accessible Services team looked for ways to stay connected with some of its most-loyal customers. “We know seniors don’t always have access to a computer or electronics,” said Janet McDonnell, Senior and Accessible Services Advisor. “When we learned Zoom has a feature where you can join a session simply using a phone, even a land line, we decided to give it a try.” And so began Senior Phone Programs, weekly gatherings by telephone that start with library staff dialing each participant and connecting them to a session described by McDonnell as “just like the old party lines.” Together, participants then listen to and discuss short stories and share reminiscences of past events and experiences. On any given week, six to 10 seniors answer the call and join in. “I haven’t missed a single one, I even plan appointments around it,” said Doris B., a resident of a local retirement community who as of December 2021 had consecutively joined the senior phone program for 90 weeks. “It’s given me contact with the outside world, especially during the quarantine,” she continued. “There are names with the voices and as we’ve gotten to know each other over the weeks, we’ve become friends. “We are like a little community of voices.”


Snoopy activities encourage creativity Staff hosted three comic pop-up events in December alongside the Snoopy and the Red Baron exhibit, with 188 customers and Peanuts-lovers of all ages stopping by for hands-on activities from origami doghouses and drawing tutorials to an exhibit scavenger hunt created by the Teen Advisory Board. On December 18, Eisner award-winning comic artist and illustrator Art Baltazar offered drawing advice and free copies of his comic books. Families were happy to happen upon these activities designed for all ages at the library again. One parent shared that she hadn’t seen her kids this excited in a very long time.


Makerplace's first holiday season proves equipment is in demand Each day of the week leading up to Christmas, more than a dozen customers could be seen standing outside of the Makerplace before the building opened. At times, laser cutters saw a staggering five-hour wait due to high demand. In the 30 hours the space was open from just December 21 to 23 alone, laser cutters were checked out a total of 49 times. Staff met each customer at their skill level and guided them to the best solutions for their projects. “You can customize really just about anything,” said Sam Levenson who used the laser cutter to personalize some barware pint glasses. “There’s a lot of free and easy software for designing, and it’s kind of mesmerizing to watch as your design emerges before your eyes. It’s instant gratification.”

Illinois Libraries Present: A new model for library sharing In 2021, libraries sought opportunities to share resources and to do more together, particularly to offer virtual programming across communities through the continued pandemic. The Arlington Heights Memorial Library was among six libraries that brought its experiences to the table, leading the research, development and creation of a new model for statewide collaboration between libraries: Illinois Libraries Present. This new resource-sharing model launched in summer 2021, offering high-quality events for participating member libraries of all sizes and budgets. The project received grant funding from the Illinois State Library, a Department of the Office of the Secretary of State, Illinois Heartland Library Association (IHLS) and in-kind support from Reaching Across Illinois Libraries (RAILS). Almost 200 libraries, or 20 percent of Illinois libraries, are offering a pilot event series, which after months of planning in 2021, kicked off January 26 (2022), connecting 799 readers during a live conversation with bestselling author of Mexican Gothic, Silvia Moreno-Garcia. The library is excited to see this initiative continue in 2022 and beyond.




POPULATION SERVED Village of Arlington Heights


GOVERNING BOARD Seven-member Board of Library Trustees Greg Zyck, President Carole Medal, Vice President/Secretary John Supplitt, Treasurer Sarah Galla

Andi Ruhl Debbie Smart Amy Somary

STAFF Full-time staff 86

Part-time staff


Full-time equivalent 148.8

VOLUNTEERS Number of volunteers 511

Volunteer hours donated 13,090

FACILITIES Main Library • 500 N. Dunton Ave. • 132,000 sq. ft. building Makerplace • 112 N. Belmont Ave. • 8,000 sq. ft. building Senior Center Reading Room • 1801 W. Central Rd. Library Bookmobile

BUDGET 2021 Annual Operating Fund Budget: $15,263,027 For our most recent budget and audited financial information, visit ahml.info/about/information

CIRCULATION Physical item circulation Electronic content use


Total collection use



ANNUAL USERSHIP Active cardholders New library cards issued Library visitors

56,025 4,534 390,640

Conference room use


Conference room customers


Public computer use

Bookmobile visitors


Makerplace visitors


Library programs offered


Library program attendance

Senior Center visitors Website visits Drive-up window users Items delivered

1,113,929 77,891 5,595

Reference questions answered

ESL program attendance ESL students

36,969 124,877 1,962 39,698 2,986 118




500 N Dunton Avenue • 847-392-0100 • ahml.info