Library of the Year Press Release




February 16, 2005



The Wauconda Area Library has been named Library of the Year by the North Suburban Library System (NSLS), a consortium of 650 academic, public, school, and special libraries in north suburban Cook, Kane, Lake and McHenry Counties.  This award was announced recently by NSLS and will be presented at the 2005 NSLS Annual Membership Awards Banquet in March.

The NSLS announcement states, "The Library of the Year Award is presented to one library in NSLS in recognition of its contributions to the development of the NSLS library community.  The Wauconda Area Public Library District has won this award because, while it has long been a good example in the community, this year the library has taken its unique mix of community focus, creativity, and collaboration to the next level of service excellence. The Wauconda Area Public Library District is 'the little library that DOES!'  The staff and administration are active contributors to system-wide and statewide projects."

“This is a great honor for the library, as well as the community we serve,” said Library Director Tom Kern.  He is pleased that the library has received this recognition for its many accomplishments.  He thanks and congratulates the entire staff "for all their great work, both as individuals and as a team.  I also appreciate the vital role that the library trustees have played in our success.  Finally, I recognize the importance of the support the library has received from the community and the NSLS library network.”  The library has built strong relationships with community organizations, including the Friends of the Library, the Villages of Island Lake, Lakemoor, Volo, Wauconda, and Port Barrington, the Wauconda Rotary, the Wauconda and Island Lake Women’s Clubs, the United Partnership for a Better Community, the local business community, and School District 118. Each of these organizations has facilitated the library’s community outreach in tangible ways, including financial support for special purchases and programming.

Kern attributes the winning of this award to a number of factors, especially the high visibility of the library within the community and the North Suburban Library System.  Due to increased resources and staffing, the library is able to play a much greater role in community activities and NSLS networking groups.  Another important factor is the enthusiastic promotion of activities and successes through innovative efforts, including its Library eNews, the library web site (, the library’s attractive printed newsletter FOCUS, and the NSLS NorthStarNet-based community calendar.  The library’s “Smartest Card” promotional campaign in conjunction with its “library card sign-up month” collaboration with local businesses has served as a model for other libraries and communities.  The library’s wide range of services, including wireless high-speed internet access and a new wireless computer training lab were also contributing factors.  The library’s web-based annual reports list the library’s numerous other accomplishments in detail.

Kern said that the library is quick to share credit for all these accomplishments with the entire community.  “This library has come a long way due to community support over the past ten years.  Voter approval of two library referenda, the first of which resulted in an award-winning new building, and the second which provided the funds to expand staffing and operations, were crucial to our current success.  We take pride in knowing that we provide a state-of-the-art library with exemplary friendly personal service. Given our relatively small budget of $2.1 million, we provide the same technology and services as much larger libraries at a fraction of the cost to our taxpayers.”   

Kern regards this award not only as recognition of the library's many successes, but as a challenge for the continued excellence, creativity and effort required to reach the library's future goals and objectives.  “Winning this award has raised the bar.  Our patrons can and do expect the very best – we wouldn’t have it any other way!”

For further information, please visit the library’s web site at or call Tom Kern at 847-526-6225, ext. 209.