About three years ago, I posted to this blog that I was leaving the Northbrook Public Library to become a manager at the Ela Area Public Library. I have served as the Head of Popular Materials since that time and if you haven't noticed, my postings dropped dramatically. That's because I was BUSY. So many things have happened and I have learned so much. I'm so proud of the things we have done at Ela and every moment has been engaging and challenging, and just a little insane...but in the best possible way, of course.
I oversaw a dramatic increase in services, such as passports, and helped to manage a major library renovation, creating a makerspace and a new teen space. We were able to create new jobs, like the Makerspace Assistants and Passport Assistant. I was totally honored to be a part of the final class of Synergy, the Illinois State Library leadership initiative. And all the while, I managed a dynamic and energetic staff who are always bubbling with ideas and enthusiasm for libraries and the good we can do in a community. I developed collections, the most I've overseen in my career - purchasing all of adult fiction and more. We even created a few new collections, like a purchase-on-demand system and a boutique collection for the makerspace. It's been amazing and challenging and rewarding and I've loved it.
I also commuted very far on a daily basis, spending anywhere from 2.5 to occasionally 4 hours in the car a day. When I applied to the job in Lake Zurich, around 30 miles from my home, I contacted a friend who lived near me and also worked at Ela. She was honest. The commute is rough. But the library worth it. And boy was she right.
Leaving the Ela Library isn't easy because it's the one of the best places I have ever had the pleasure to work at. The community is engaged and diverse. The administration is the best I've ever worked for - supportive, creative, excited, and just damn good people. Both Matt Womack and Erica Christianson have taught me so much about what it means to be a compassionate and strong leader. I cannot thank them enough. The library board is supportive and they're all active library users. The staff cares. They really care. Everyone is in on the mission.
With all that said, I'm thrilled that I will be joining the administrative team at the Skokie Public Library as their Learning & Development Coordinator. I will be overseeing and coordinating all staff training and development, something I've always been so passionate about, and now I get to do this as my full-time job for one of the best libraries and communities in the country. I'm moving from a public service focus to staff focus, which is so new and so different and so totally awesome. And with the new director, Richard Kong, I know I have so much to learn and I cannot wait to collaborate and support this team. This is such an exciting next step in my career and I am humbled to be a part of it.
I begin work in early October and while sad to say goodbye to Ela, I cannot wait to see what challenges will come in this next phase. And I'm hoping with the decreased commute time that I will be able to start writing again because I miss it! So a big thank you to everyone who has supported me the past three years. I couldn't have made it without you! And here's to the next step, in a role where I hope to do as much good as I possibly can.