The Youth Services staff have picked their favorite books published in 2020 for ages 0-13. We hope you and your family find some new favorites here, too!

Update: as of Monday, March 1, 2021, the Library building is once again open to the public. Get complete details.

The Barrington Area Library building is temporarily closed to the public, but many Library services remain available!

Why is the Library building closed?

In November of 2020, another surge of COVID-19 cases arose in Cook and Lake counties and we wanted to do our part to reduce the spread of the virus. We care deeply about the health and safety of the communities we serve, especially seniors, people with underlying conditions, and others who are at greater risk. We are also committed to providing the safest possible work environment for Library staff.

Which Library services are available during the closure?

  • Parking Lot Pick-Up, Borrow By Mail, and delivery to our remote locker locations (if they remain open) are available to Barrington Area Library cardholders.

    Please note that Parking Lot Pick-Up is available during the following hours:

    Monday – Friday, 10 AM – 6 PM
    Saturday, 9 AM – 5 PM
    Sunday, 1 – 5 PM

How can I stay informed about the Library’s hours and services?

We will keep you informed via our website (, social media channels (Facebook and Twitter), and e-mail newsletters. Our response to this situation will continue to evolve, so please stay in touch.

We encourage you to use our phone and chat services for the fastest response to your questions – see hours above. You may also use the Contact Us email form on our website – we’ll respond to your messages as quickly as possible.

Janet Anderson (left) and Melissa Buckley.

If you weren't able to join us for our sixth annual TEDxBarringtonAreaLibrary on Thursday, November 12, we're pleased to announce that the videos are now available for online viewing!

Janet Anderson, Barrington High School Teacher Librarian: It All Started With A Booktalk

Melissa Buckley, JourneyCare Foundation Trustee, former BStrong Together founding president & long-time community volunteer: Recruiting Volunteers From A Kitchen Table

If you aren't familiar with TEDxBarringtonAreaLibrary, it is a locally organized version of TED, the series of inspiring talks meant to inspire and engage. Read the biographies of this year's speakers here. We encourage you to watch, listen, share, and discuss this year's videos with other community members!

Long-time Barrington Public Library Trustee and Board Vice President Carolyn Welch Clifford recently submitted her resignation due to an out-of-state move.

At its regular meeting on Monday, October 12, 2020, the Board voted not to pursue a short-term appointment to fill the four-year vacancy left by Clifford. Rather, the Board will leave the seat vacant until the April 6, 2021 Consolidated Election. In addition to the four-year unexpired term created by her departure, there are two full-term, six-year seats on the Library Board up for election in April as well.

"Carolyn served as a passionate advocate for the Library, its programs, services, and staff. She volunteered countless hours of her time on behalf of the Library District's patrons,” stated Don Minner, President of the Library Board. “We will greatly miss her wise counsel and service."

Minner framed the Board’s decision to not appoint Clifford’s successor as an opportunity for community engagement. "With the spring elections just a few months away, we believe it's in the best interest of Library District residents to determine who they want to serve on the Library Board. Realistically, a new appointee would have only a few months on the Board before having to run for election. That's a lot to ask an appointed candidate. Therefore, we believe the voters should decide who will represent them."

District residents interested in running for election to the Library Board will find more information, including a courtesy candidate information packet, on the Barrington Area Library website: Candidate information packets may also be requested at the Library’s Customer Service desk during all regular business hours. REMINDER: the filing period is Dec 14-18 and Dec 21.

The seven-member Board of Trustees serves as liaison between the general public and the library. It establishes library policy and mission, adopts the annual library budget, authorizes library services, and ensures that the library operates in accordance with state law and its own policies. Trustees attend meetings, participate in discussion and decision making at the meetings, serve on committees, and stay continually informed on library issues and state of Illinois laws that govern public libraries. Regular Board meetings occur at 7 p.m. on the second Monday of each month, with additional committee and special meetings taking place throughout the year. At this time, board meetings take place via conference call, in keeping with local health guidelines regarding COVID-19 and the number of attendees at public gatherings.

The Barrington Area Library is pleased to announce that it will no longer charge overdue fines.

Why? We want to eliminate as many barriers to library service as possible, and, we’d rather focus our time, energy, and resources on building positive relationships with you, our valued customers!

What does this mean for customers?

Most items check out for four weeks. See a detailed list of loan periods.

A reminder is sent before items are due. Weekly reminders are sent once items are overdue.

Customers may log into their accounts to renew items for up to two additional loan periods, provided they are not on hold for other customers. Auto-renewal is not available at this time.

At four weeks overdue, a bill for replacement is sent, and the customer’s library account is paused. Paused accounts may not be used to borrow physical materials. To reactivate an account, items more than four weeks overdue must be returned or renewed, or, the replacement cost must be paid.

Our Customer Service team has been systematically removing old overdue fines from accounts as well. Fees will still apply in certain circumstances: MakerLab materials, Meeting Room coffee service, Non-Resident Library Cards, Interlibrary Loan items that are not picked up.

How and why did the Library make this decision?

Every community is unique, and every public library must balance the unique wants, needs, and characteristics of the community it serves with the need for due diligence and fiscal responsibility. In order to make a well-informed decision regarding the elimination of overdue fines, BALibrary staff spent more than a year researching the borrowing process. What that process revealed: Barrington Area Library customers are conscientious stewards of library materials! On average, at any given time, only about .6% of the Library’s collection is overdue. Only about .2% of the collection is ever more than 21 days overdue. The Library believes that strong sense of responsibility to the larger community will remain, even without overdue fines.

Also discovered in the research process: overdue fines disproportionately affect children, which goes against the Library’s mission goal of creating young readers. When barriers are removed and opportunities are increased, everyone benefits.

Eliminating overdue fines will also improve efficiency and the Library’s bottom line. In years past, one out of every five Customer Service transactions related to fine payment. Fines collection costs the Library more than $22,000 a year in staff time and vendor costs. Those human and financial resources can now be used for initiatives that foster positive community relationships.

When the Library temporarily closed in March 2020 due to COVID-19, plans were already underway to eliminate overdue fines. During the closure, the Library extended due dates so overdue fines would not accrue, even after the Library reopened in July. Customer Service staff also worked behind the scenes to waive all previous outstanding overdue fines from customer accounts. The Library Board of Trustees approved the final policy change to eliminate overdue fines at its regular meeting on Monday, September 14, 2020.

What happens if I have lost an item?

A bill for lost items is sent at four weeks overdue. Customers may simply return the items and the bill will be cancelled. If the item is lost, damaged, or unable to be returned, customers may pay the bill online or in person at the Customer Service desk. Under this new policy, customers are charged a discounted library rate equivalent to the replacement cost, with a small processing fee. If a customer finds an item after paying the bill, a refund may be processed up to 90 days after the item was declared lost.