Just in time for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Girl Scouts of the USA, we welcome author and historian Stacy Cordery to the Barrington Area Library. Cordery will speak about her latest book, Juliette Gordon Low: The Remarkable Founder of the Girl Scouts, on Tuesday, March 6, 1:30 PM. Books will be available for purchase and signing after the presentation, courtesy of event cosponsor the Lake Forest Book Store.

Juliette Gordon "Daisy" Low was a Southern belle both brazen and modest, traditional in manner and yet impossibly forward-thinking. Despite a life of relative privilege, she faced tremendous challenges in life yet was determined to teach women to be self-reliant, adventurous and morally responsible. Cordery is an award-winning professor of history at Monmouth College and the author of biographical works on President Theodore Roosevelt and Alice Roosevelt Longworth. Her latest work on Juliette Gordon Low has won her praise from the Wall Street Journal and USA Today and the work was selected as one of the Christian Science Monitor’s “Twenty Non-Fiction Books to Watch for in 2012.” If you are currently involved with the Girl Scouts, have fond memories from your childhood or simply want to learn more about a fascinating female in American history, register for this free program. Enjoy complimentary tea and Girl Scout cookies, too.

Register on the library's Web site with this link: Stacy Cordery and Juliette Gordon Low registration or by calling 847-382-1300.

Praise and media for Stacy Cordery and Juliette Gordon Low: The Remarkable Founder of the Girl Scouts.

Interview with Cordery by Diane Rehm, American University Radio/NPR.

Interview with Cordery by Jeff Glor, CBS News Author Talk

Review from Kirkus Reviews

Wall Street Journal: "The merit badge here goes to Stacy Cordery's biography..."


We're proud of all the kids who visit us, but the Barrington Area Library has a special place for some of our youngest guests who participate in our Kindergarten Reading Club. In the 2011-2012 Kindergarten Club, 62 children participated, reading more than 3,300 books. Hats off to our Kindergarten Reading Club champions, each of whom tackled 100 books in just 5 months! Here are their custom-made READ posters (click for a full size image) - you can also see them on display in the library's Youth Services department on the second floor. Congratulations to all the Kindergarten Reading Club members - keep on reading!


For Immediate Release
Contact: Karen McBride, Public Information Manager, 847-382-1300 X205 kmcbride(AT)


Barrington Area Library Trustees Consider Renovation Plan

An aging building, increased usage and shifting patron needs and expectations are leading Barrington Area Library trustees to consider a significant renovation plan for the 33-year-old library building.

After a failed attempt to build a new library through a 2008 referendum, the trustees sought a path forward that was predicated on reconfiguring the existing facility. In 2011, the board commissioned a Strategic Facilities Plan, which became the foundation for the proposed renovation now being evaluated.

The library’s aging infrastructure requires major capital improvements. The current building opened its doors in 1978 with an addition completed in 1992. Some mechanical systems date back to the original building. If adopted, the complete renovation project is expected to cost approximately $5.7 million. The board expects to be able to cover the cost of the renovation project through current budget reserves, rather than asking the community for a tax increase.

As a result of the proposed renovation, patrons can expect a shorter distance from the front door to points of service and easier access to the second floor. Other proposed improvements include 24/7 access for picking up materials and a drive-up materials return. Meeting rooms will be redesigned for better acoustics and “smart room” technology. More space will be created for children’s programs, allowing for increased attendance and a wider variety of programming.

“Choices made now regarding the infrastructure would be very costly to reverse in the future, so this is the ideal opportunity to look at improvements needed throughout the facility,” explains board President Donald F. Minner. “Our goal is to reimagine the entire space, making it easily adaptable to new usage and service trends, while providing our patrons with a flexible and welcoming environment. Ultimately, we will transform a 1970s-era building into a public library for the 21st century.”

The library’s Executive Director Detlev Pansch adds, “Space will be reconfigured to allow for more collaboration and content creation, and important services, such as computers and group work spaces, will be prominently featured. We need an updated, more welcoming space for high school students, too. The overall vision for this much-needed renovation plan is to preserve the Barrington Area Library’s role as a significant community asset.” The board is expected to vote in early 2012 whether to proceed with the renovation plan.

The Barrington Area Library is located at 505 N. Northwest Highway, Barrington, IL. Serving more than 44,000 residents of Barrington and many surrounding communities, it is the largest library district in Illinois, geographically speaking, covering 72 square miles. The library is open 7 days a week and offers a comprehensive selection of books, DVDs, music and more for children and adults. Learn more at the library’s virtual branch:


Related stories:
"Barrington Library Could Get $5.7 Million Upgrade," Daily Herald. January 4, 2012.

"Barrington Area Library Pondering $5.7 Million Project," Barrington Courier-Review. January 5, 2012.

"Barrington Library Looking at $5.7 Million Renovation," TribLocal, January 6, 2012.

Barrington Area Special Voices Featured in Photographic Exhibit and Book Signing Event at the Barrington Area Library

Nationally recognized portrait photographer Thomas Balsamo has photographed countless special needs children, discovering in the process that each has an exceptional and interesting perspective on life. In that spirit, Balsamo reached out to Barrington Area Special Voices, a local, non-profit organization serving special needs children and their families. In a unique collaboration, Balsamo taught 28 special needs individuals the basics of photography, resulting in Express Yourself, a book and photographic exhibit. The Barrington Area Library’s Gallery in the Library is proud to feature the evocative, compelling photography of these individuals, from January 13 – 29, 2012. A reception and book signing with the artists and Balsamo will take place on Friday, January 13. Copies of Express Yourself will be available for purchase and signing from 7 – 7:30 p.m. The reception will last from 7 – 9 p.m., giving guests plenty of time to mingle with the artists and view their works while enjoying complimentary refreshments.

Express Yourself centers around an assignment Balsamo gave to these budding photographers: “Photograph something that makes you laugh, cry, something you love, something beautiful, and something you can’t live without.” Balsamo says of the project, “We all have gifts, talents, passions, and the ability to affect others — although some of us communicate differently than the rest of us. Express Yourself was my opportunity to inspire special people to begin the discovery process of finding and using their gifts, passions, and talents to enhance their lives and the lives of others.”

Balsamo has seen these young photographers develop a passion for the power of images and hopes they will continue to use photography as a creative outlet and method of communication. Barrington artist and Gallery in the Library co-curator Lisa Swarbrick also spent time working with the Express Yourself photographers and found herself captivated by the creativity and enthusiasm she witnessed. “These kids and young adults are a true joy to be around, and we hope the community will come out to the artists’ reception to celebrate their accomplishments,” states Swarbrick.

Photographer Thomas Balsamo developed his love of photography at the early age of ten after receiving his first camera. His ability to photographically capture people became a career in 1978. His work has been featured on CNN, CBS, WGN and WLS television and published in Professional Photographer among other publications. More information about and images from Express Yourself may be found at Copies of Express Yourself may be purchased online at

Created in 1979, the Gallery in the Library hosts six to twelve exhibits per year at the Barrington Area Library. Two local artists, Lisa Swarbrick and Kelly Stachura, serve as volunteer co-curators. The Gallery in the Library is located on the library's first floor and is open to the public. Artwork may be viewed during normal library hours: Monday-Friday: 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.; Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; Sunday: 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. More information about the Gallery in the Library may be found on the library Web site, A selection of images from a previous Express Yourself book signing event is available at: All images copyright Thomas Balsamo 2011. Images from the Express Yourself book also available upon request.

The Barrington Area Library is located at 505 N. Northwest Highway, Barrington, IL.

Thursday, December 1, 2011 - The Barrington Area Library is proud to introduce its new catalog and online account system. User-friendly and feature-rich, this updated catalog will make your library experience better than ever.

Thank you for your patience during this transition. Your suggestions and requests helped us to choose the new online catalog and we think you'll be delighted by the change. Please be aware that phone renewal is not working at this time, but should return next week. We expect to have Interlibrary Loan back in place before the end of December.

Here are just a few of the features you will find in the new catalog:

  • Search by relevance to get more precise results;
  • Save a record of all the items you borrow, if you'd like;
  • Save your frequent searches (a favorite novelist, genre or hobby), then get email notification when new items that fit your search arrive;
  • Narrow your search by format (like book or DVD);
  • Receive "Did you mean...?" spellcheck assistance and automated suggestions while you type;
  • Share what you find on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks;
  • Text call numbers to your phone - no more digging for scrap paper!
  • Interlibrary Loan is integrated right into the catalog (coming later this month);
  • Save lists you create, and a lot more.

Ready to try the new catalog? Click here and have fun.

Have questions? Just ask! We look forward to providing even better service to you via our new catalog. Thanks for your continued patience as we learn the new system together.