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Vickie L. Novak

A Quarterly Message
From Library Director
Vickie L. Novak

A Warm Welcome

The Library Board of Trustees and Administration welcome two new members to its ranks—John Miller, who was elected to a four-year term in April, and Allan J. Ruter, who has been appointed to fill a vacancy on the Board. Both individuals share a passion for libraries and a culture of giving back to the community. They were asked how their affinity for libraries began and what their goals and aspirations are for the Glenview Public Library of the future.

In his own words, John Miller says, “Call it a coincidence. Last year, a friend asked, “John, would you ever consider becoming a library trustee?” I’ve been active in community programs all my life. I prefer “hands on,” but I have leadership and board experience, too. My friend couldn’t have known that I was stepping back from some of those activities and looking for something new. Until then, I didn’t know what.

Maybe libraries are in my DNA. I grew up in rural Wisconsin. My mother would take me to the library to check out books when we “went into town” to buy groceries—every two weeks. As a teen, I found the library was a place I could always afford. In college, well, maybe I spent too much time in libraries. Libraries continue to be part of my adult life: a quiet place for a soldier at Fort Dix or a safe place for a divorced father to take his son to do homework, to mention two examples.

As you read this, I will have attended eight Glenview Public Library board meetings: two as an observer, three regular monthly meetings, and three special meetings to fill a board vacancy. I know that I have a lot to learn, and I welcome your input.

I do have ideas. As a young bishop in Argentina, Pope Francis would tell priests, “Your job is not to bring people into the church. Your job is to bring the church to the people.” Our library is doing community outreach programs and using technology to reach out and connect with people. I want to encourage this.

Glenview is a diverse community. Just as my friend encouraged me, I want to encourage parents of young children and people who represent other sectors of Glenview to get involved with the board and provide it with a wider range of voices. And, oh yes, I hope to see you at the library!

Allan Ruter’s love of libraries was also grounded in early childhood experiences, as he recounts, “My earliest reader’s memory takes me to the Wellsburg, Iowa Public Library in the 1960s, where I checked out as many Hardy Boys mysteries as the librarian would permit. My mother, formerly a teacher, served for several years as local librarian and regularly regaled our family dinner table with the programs, policies, and politics of small-town libraries.

Later, during my 33 years as English, History, and American Studies teacher in the Glenbrook High Schools, I not only collaborated with GBN and GBS librarians on multiple projects each year, but also relied heavily on their professional research to help me decide what to teach and how to teach it.

Throughout my career in public education, the Glenview Public Library served my students and me willingly, reliably, and intelligently. The breadth of its holdings, the skills of its staff and, more recently, the beauty and functionality of its building make it a source of deep pride in our community.

Into the twenty-first century, the changing role of the public library is in just as much flux as it was when Andrew Carnegie’s philanthropy sprouted thousands of library buildings across the country more than a century ago. And that is all for the good, I think. New technologies spawn new opportunities, new capabilities, new practices, and new programs which combine to shape first-rate libraries like ours into repositories of print and digital media, centers for research, and destinations for entertainment.

To manage such dynamic change in the digital age requires more than futuristic thinking and strategic planning: It requires prudent, nuanced stewardship of resources to make those future plans happen. As a Trustee, I will aim to provide vigorous, progressive support to help our Library continue to grow, prosper, and lead.”

As we approach National Library Card Sign-Up month in September, I urge you to make the Glenview Library your library —and the key that unlocks the door to all of the resources that the Library can offer you is your library card. September is a good time to renew your card if it has expired, or to become a card carrier if you don’t already have one. ~Vickie L. Novak

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