The library is open and we've loved seeing you as you browse and borrow from our collection of books and movies. However, a library is so much more than that! We know that a huge part of a library is enrichment. One very healthy form of enrichment comes from being creative. Well, we've got you covered! Because we can't offer in person craft programs like we usually would, Barrington Area Library is now offering Take and Make Project Kits for adults!

Currently in our kits are all the supplies you need to make Tissue Paper Flower Wreaths; a perfect project for the fall! The project is simple enough that you don't need librarian assistance to get your craft on! Inside your kit, you'll receive an embroidery hoop, tissue paper, pipe cleaners, ribbon and a decorative leaf.  All you need to provide is a pair of scissors and a ruler! Detailed instructions are also packed inside, so there's no guess work! Once you're done with your wreath, share it with us via social media! We'd love to see what you created!


To pick up your Take and Make Project, just ask one of our friendly staff members to grab one for you. Kits are available while supplies last and are first come, first serve. They're also available via Parking Lot Pick-Up, so long as you ask for one when you pull up to pick up your books. Want to make it a family craft night? That's great! Ask for as many as you need. We hope you enjoy crafting with us from afar!


  Adult Services Assistant Librarian Ashley Brooke Sero


With BALibrary's Summer Reading Challenge coming to a close, this post is dedicated to some of this year’s highlights! To date, adults have logged a total of 407,826 minutes and earned 930 badges. Young adults have logged a total of 109,963 minutes and earned 312 badges. Collectively, all Summer Reading Challenge participants have read over 1 million minutes, which is more than double our community points goal!

Here’s a peek at some of the top books read by adults this summer:

Big Summer

by Jennifer Weiner

The Dutch House

by Ann Patchett

Eight Perfect Murders

by Peter Swanson

All Adults Here

by Emma Straub

The Keeper of Lost Things

by Ruth Hogan


Here’s a peek at some of the top books read by young adults this summer:


by George Orwell

The House of Hades

by Rick Riordan

Crazy Rich Asians

by Kevin Kwan

 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling  

 Lilac Girls

by Martha Hall Kelly


The top five activity badges earned this summer are:


And you all shared some awesome activity photos with us! Here are a couple:


Baby turtles discovered on a walk - submitted by Allison

Frog discovered in the grass on a walk with family - submitted by Ellyn

Great job and a big thank you to all of our participants this year! As a reminder, the Summer Reading Challenge ends this Wednesday, August 19th. So be sure to log any remaining minutes and activities by midnight on the 19th. You’ll also want to check and be sure that you have entered your tickets into the prize drawings! Adults have the chance to win a gift card to a favorite local eatery and young adults have the chance to win a pair of AirPods.


As always, happy reading! :)

This post is a guest post written by librarian Danielle Golding, who is currently putting her effort into making this the best reading club yet! 

  Adult Services Assistant Librarian Danielle Golding


Recently, I journeyed to one of the oldest cemeteries in McHenry County, Chunn’s Burying Ground, otherwise known as Oak Glen Cemetery. Located in Fox River Grove, Illinois, this unassuming acre of land has more history to it than meets the eye! Chunn’s Burying Ground originally was part of a larger tract obtained by Joshua M. Stevens in 1840. In 1843, it was acquired by his business partner, Thomas R. Chunn. Sadly, Thomas would join the residents of the existing graveyard in December of that year. After changing hands, in 1860, the property was back again in the Chunn family when Thomas Charles, druggist and Algonquin Postmaster, bought the land for $25.00, establishing Chunn’s Burying Ground. 


The property was later purchased by Civil War veteran John Houghtaling. He donated one acre of the property to the town. That acre is where Chunn’s Burying Ground and the neighboring schoolhouse, Oak Glen School, reside. The schoolhouse is currently a private residence, but the Burying Ground is open for people to visit and pay their respects to those who call Oak Glen Cemetery their final resting place. 


Walking around this land can be a bit eerie, knowing that under your feet are unmarked graves from over 100 years ago. The remaining tombstones, as well, have a spookiness to them, as most are broken and illegible. But there’s also a calm to the area that makes it worth a visit.


The first grave placed on this property is said to be of a drowning victim and dates back to 1809. Local legend, however, says that land was also the site of an Indian burial ground, which makes the actual use of this land for burials date back even earlier.  While plot maps are unavailable now, according to one source, there were about 50 graves and possibly 50 more, around the time of World War I.  Chunn’s Burying Ground was an active burying ground until 1910, when it is said the last body was laid to rest.


As you might expect, as time passed, so did interest in keeping this cemetery in good condition. It fell into disrepair, with stones being broken or moved due to age and vandalism. Concerned residents Sue Knapp, Paula Stengele and Lee Ann Stitz took matters into their own hands in 1989 and petitioned Algonquin Township and local residents for support in cleaning up and restoring the property. With no plot maps, the remaining stones couldn't be placed in their rightful spots and were instead moved to a place of honor surrounding two oak trees on raised land.  Since its rededication in 1989, Algonquin Township has kept this property up to date, which has since been open for visitors looking to relive a bit of Fox River Grove’s history, as well as Geocachers looking for local treasure hunts. As of 2008, it has landmark status and now is a protected historic site.



Local history is very important to us here at Barrington Area Library. We strive to make it as accessible as we can so you can easily learn more about the area or your past ancestors. For more information on our resources, visit our website, or contact Kate Mills at

  Adult Services Assistant Librarian Ashley Brooke Sero


Summer 2020 will be remembered for many reasons, almost too many to count.  For some of us, one of those not-so-fond memories will be the vacations that had to be cancelled.  Unless you had already planned on camping, there's a good chance that even if you did make it out of Illinois for sunshine, adventure, or dining, the experience wasn't what you had in mind.

Does that mean you should give up on your travel dreams?  No, of course not!  Stranded travelers, its time to take a trip to the library.

The day will come when things get back to normal.  During your wait, here are a few resources to help make the most of your trip when it is finally rescheduled.  Hopefully they will help soothe your wanderlust.  If not, well, isn't there a saying about absence makes the heart grow fonder?


1.  Move Beyond the Travel Guides

Whenever I'm traveling anywhere outside of Chicagoland, I  make an effort to find a decent travel guide.  All the information I need to fill my days (and stomach) are located in one handy resource.  Informative?  Highly.  Entertaining?  Not even a little bit.

Time to get a head start exploring your destination!  Get to know the people, the culture, and the cuisine of your dream destination.  There are many options to suit every personality.  Do you love classics and dream of Japan?  The Tale of Genji is a fascinating read.  As a bonus, the characters are illustrated often in ancient Japanese woodblock prints.  Perhaps you will recognize them when you make it to the museum.  Traveling to the Greek Isles?  Time to brush up on the epic poetry of Homer.   If that sounds like homework, why not give contemporary authors a spin?  Just because you're headed to England (eventually) doesn't mean you have to suffer through reading Shakespeare if that's not your cuppa tea.  Perhaps you could pick up a post-modern tale by Martin Amis, or Possession by AS Byatt.  For those of you with eyes towards non-western travel, there are a lot of authors whose works are in translation.  Speculative fiction in particular has made leaps and bounds when it comes to publishing incredible works by authors from around the world.  Cixin Liu writes science fiction that has been expertly translated from the original Mandarin to English.  Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia weaves together a tale of a 20th century young woman and the myths of the Maya.  Or maybe your sights are set in the US.  Whether you're heading out east and want to read something from a Boston area native like Louisa May Alcott, or want to see the west through the eyes of Steinbeck, the options are endless.  Stop at our reference desk on the second floor, or send us a chat, and we'd be happy to come up with a few titles based on your destination!

2.  Learn to say something beyond "Hello" and "Thank You"

It is a given that in most areas of the world, you will be able to find someone who speaks English.  It is the current lingua franca, which is obvious, since French is no longer that lingua.  But I digress.  

Wouldn't it be fun to order your coffee in Italian, or your apple wine in Danish?  Now you can!  If you have a BALibrary card, you have access to Mango Languages, a digital tool that allows you to learn over 70 different languages from the comfort and safety of your home.!  The lessons are short, focus on conversation, and you can record yourself speaking to determine if you're getting the accent right.  Click here and have your library card ready!  

3.  Figure out all the buttons on your camera

Whether your heading to Indy for the weekend to see your friends, or travelling to Botswana for the trip of your life, you will want to have your camera to capture all the moments.  In some instances, your phone camera will suffice.  But there are times where you may want to have something more, like a DSLR or a micro four-thirds.

If you've invested in a high quality camera, you want high quality results.  While your camera can do a lot of the work for you, your images will really start to pop if you can learn to control the aperture and the shutter speed.  While this might sound intimidating, BALibrary has a subscription to that has thousands of tutorial videos to help you stop taking snap shots and start making art.  From learning the function buttons on your camera, to artistic conceptions concerning depth and visual balance, there is a video to answer all your questions.   I particularly like the videos by Ben Long, a professional photographer who has over 30 years of experience.  Click here to check out all Lynda has to offer.

These are just a few ways we're here to help.  If you are looking for music, videos, or other resources, please let us know!  And let me be the first to wish you safe and happy arm chair travels.


  Adult Services Assistant Librarian Ivy Dally


We're pleased to introduce another blogger to The 505, Assistant Librarian Dan Suwinski!

Dan Suwinski
Dan has worked in libraries for 10 years, and has been with BALibrary since December 2019. Dan is a huge fan of the fantasy genre – typically buried in a lengthy novel! Dan is a musician, a new dad, and someone who loves to cook.


My name is Corinne and I run the Homebound Delivery Service at the Barrington Area Library. Did you know if you are permanently or temporarily disabled (30 day minimum) or elderly and without transportation, you can have library materials delivered to your home? You can! And the service comes at no charge to the user! We mail books, large print books, magazines, DVDs, CDs, and audiobooks. All materials are delivered through the US Postal Service and return postage is included. When you are finished with your materials, simply swap out the labels included in the package and mail the materials back to us. You can request what we send by placing holds online or by giving us a call and speaking with a staff member. Please take advantage of this service, especially during this particular summer and fall.

If you are interested in signing up or if you have any further questions, please contact Homebound Delivery Service by email at or by phone at 847-382-1300 ext. 3300. Please feel free to leave a voicemail and we will get back to you as soon as we can. 


  Adult Services Librarian Corinne Groble


UPDATE: Unfortunately, Meet the Authors: An Evening with Lori Rader-Day and Susanna Calkins has been postponed to a later date. More details to come.

Voracious readers and aspiring authors won't want to miss this chance to hear two local authors in conversation during one of our many exciting programs coming to you this August. Organized by librarians extraordinaire Liz Kirchhoff and Danielle Golding is Meet the Authors: An Evening with Lori Rader-Day & Susanna Calkins, being presented live via Zoom on August 5th at 7 PM CST.

Lori Rader-Day

Enjoy a conversation with suspense novelist Lori Rader-Day, author of The Lucky OneUnder a Dark Sky, and Little Pretty Things, and historical mystery novelist Susanna Calkins, author of Murder Knocks TwiceA Death Along the River Fleet, and A Murder at Rosamund's Gate. This conversation will give you a glimpse into these two authors worlds and experiences. If time allows, there will be a short Q&A portion, so bring a question or two!

Susanna Calkins

For those that want a crash course on Lori and Susanna's work, the Library is now open for browsing and borrowing! Stop in and visit the 2nd Floor Reference Desk, where our helpful librarians can help you find more information on both our talented authors and maybe a book or two!  To register for this virtual program, sign up here. Be sure to give us the email you check most, because that is how we'll be sharing the virtual programming link with you.

Programs can be accessed from a computer, tablet, or mobile phone. We recommend joining a bit early, so you're all set up and ready to enjoy this program by start time. And don't forget to mark it on your calendar, so you don't miss this chance to hear two wordsmiths speak live and in person (so to speak). We'll see you there!

  Adult Services Assistant Librarian Ashley Brooke Sero


With thousands of DVDs in BALibrary’s collection, it can be overwhelming to know just what to check out or place on hold. With Fandom Fest behind us (see all the amazing panels here), I thought it would be fun to highlight a few of my favorite sci-fi and fantasy series that we have here at Barrington Area Library.


Created by Eric Kripke for the WB Network (now the CW), Supernatural follows Sam and Dean Winchester, brothers who travel the States all in the name of the ‘family business’-- saving people and hunting (supernatural) things. Over the 15 years they’ve been on the air, Sam and Dean have taken on vampires, wendigos, demons, angels, rabbits’ feet, tricksters, witches, werewolves and literally every other monster or mythical creature imaginable. The chemistry of the cast and their love for the "SPN Family" is tangible, which is a big reason why this little show on a fourth string network has lasted 15 years and is set to live on in fandom through charity projects, conventions and reruns for years to come. Find Supernatural in our catalog here.

Once Upon a Time:

Storybrooke, Maine may look like your traditional small town, but it’s far from it. Its residents are all fairytale characters cursed by the evil queen to live in a world without their memories or magic. The story begins when Henry Mills, adopted son of the Evil Queen turned Mayor of Storybrooke, goes in search of his birth mother, the tough Emma Swan, to bring her back to Storybrooke to break the curse. Once Upon a Time ran for seven seasons on ABC and was created by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. They effortlessly weave together a story that can only be described as epic. Find Once Upon a Time in our catalog here.


Unlike the two shows above, Timeless only graced our TV screens for two seasons. Timeless follows a historian, a soldier and an engineer turned time machine pilot, as they travel through time chasing an evil organization dead set on wreaking havoc through history. Created by Eric Kripke, Timeless is a show that is well written and perfectly plotted. It’s full of intellect and wit and a bit of romance, too. Find Timeless in our catalog here.

Doctor Who:

Doctor Who has a rich history that hails from across the pond. Created in 1963, Doctor Who has captivated people for decades. Its voice, tone and quality has changed throughout the years, making it hard to know just where to dive into this series about a mad man who travels THROUGH time and space in a police box with his companions. For new watchers, I’d recommend starting with the 2005 series where the amazing Christopher Eccelston takes on the iconic role of the Doctor in what was the first new, modern series after a long hiatus. (If you love his doctor, I also highly recommend checking out his beautiful, heartbreaking and touching memoir “I Love the Bones of You”, available as an e-audio title on Overdrive.) You can find Doctor Who in our catalog here

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD:

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD follows Agent Phil Coulson and his team of SHIELD agents as they thwart evil at every turn. Currently finishing up their amazing seventh and final season, SHIELD, along with the equally amazing, but short lived Agent Carter, are two major standouts when it comes to Marvel on the small screen. Season 1 takes a while to get into, but continue with it, because you’re in for a wild ride if you stick around the team long enough. Like a comic book series, each season is uniquely its own, bringing in new and different plots you never see coming. My personal favorite season has to be the current one, where the team is dealing with some major time traveling problems. This show has the perfect mix of well thought out plots, funny moments, great character development and genuinely emotional twists. You can find Agents of SHIELD in our catalog here.


These five titles are just a few of the hundreds of options available to check out at Barrington Area Library! You can easily place a hold on these or other items via our website or stop in and browse our collection when we open back up July 27th, 2020! We can’t wait to see you!

  Adult Services Assistant Librarian Ashley Brooke Sero


Prior to 2020, a title like “The Masked Librarian” would probably be attached to a thriller by the likes of James Patterson, or perhaps a YA novel about teenage spies working to overthrow an evil overlord all while working the circulation desk. I never would have imagined that the masked librarian would be me!

We're all masked librarians now, and socially distanced to boot.  It's strange, and hot, and not at all what working at a library looked like in previous summers.  We all are looking forward to the day when the dangers of Covid-19 are in the past. But in the meantime, what do we do?

Go on living. Wear a mask. Wash our hands.

I left my office on March 20th, 2020, certain I’d be back in a month’s time. One month turned to four, and I stepped back into the library on June 19th.  Our beautiful building was waiting. At a glance, its like no time has passed. The trees now have leaves, and the planters are maintained and flush with fresh blooms. The soaring wooden beams of the atrium still remind me of the architecture I saw in Europe, and I was beyond grateful to see my colleagues and learn they are doing well, despite the many challenges we all face.

But by necessity, much has changed. That we were able to institute such large scale changes in such a short amount of time speaks well of the dedication of the full time staff members who had to re-imagine the flow of the building, as well as the job duties of those on staff. No doubt more changes are in store as we learn more about this novel corona virus and how it spreads.

My role at the library for the months of June and July has not been that of an assistant librarian, but as a “runner.” Hopefully some of you have seen us. If you haven’t, let me tell you how you can get in on the fun! Since you’re reading this, I assume that means that you’re at least somewhat familiar with our website, From our homepage, you can search our catalog for books, movies, and CDs. If you don’t know what you want to read or watch, click here for some recommendations from our staff.  Go ahead and make those requests!

What is a very simple process for you actually requires a lot of steps from our team inside the building. Material Services receives your requests, and they go about the building gathering your items. Another team brings them in the back and makes tags with your name so they can be shelved and easy to find.  Larger requests are boxed ahead of time.

When you come in, you will call into Customer Service, who will get your information. They let the runners know you’re here.

Runners  get the items off the shelf, check them out, and place them into your car, contact free.


But seeing all your smiling faces makes it all worth it.

Please know that no matter what comes next, we will do our best to continue to serve the needs of the community. The building will remain closed to the public until July 27th. However, even after we open, we will offer Parking Lot Pick-up, or PLP, until a time at which such a service is no longer deemed necessary.  Until then, if you see me waving at you, I hope you wave back! Stay safe out there.


  Adult Services Assistant Librarian Ivy Dally


Some people live for opening up the crisp pages of a brand new story they can dive into. In my youth, I could relate to that. I devoured new book after new book. As I aged, however, I saw that habit change. Of course, I still pick up a new book occasionally, but if you were to ask me what I am reading now, nine times out of ten, I’ll say I’m re-reading one of my favorites.


Generally speaking, my genre of choice is Juvenile and Young Adult supernatural/fantasy fiction. Contemporary titles have never been my thing, because we live in a contemporary world filled with a gamut of experiences and emotions, reading about it has never kept my interest. The books that have caught my eye and embedded themselves inside my soul all have had some element of fantasy, witty dialogue, hints of romance and hope.


Some would say, what’s the point of re-reading a book? You’ve read it already. You know the beginning, middle and end. Why pick it up again? To each their own, but in my opinion, that’s the best thing about re-reading. You know the journey you’re in for. You know the feelings you’ll experience while following the hero of the novel through their journey. And best of all, re-reading your favorite book brings back all the memories of reading it the first time.

Currently, I’m re-reading Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. I remember the first time I read it as an advanced reading copy prior to the novel’s publication in 2005. My mother brought it home like she had so many other advanced readers through the years thanks to her job as a youth services secretary at a local library. There was no hoopla surrounding this book or the unknown author who wrote it. Of course, I immediately got sucked into the charm of Twilight just a few months before the rest of the world would get Twilight fever.  

Like many, I fell in love with Edward Cullen hard, and even bought an early run T-shirt, released through Stephenie Meyer’s site, proclaiming me part of the I Love Edward Cullen Fan Club. I haven’t worn that shirt in a while, but I can’t part with it, because of the impact Twilight made on me. I remember reading it for the first time and how much joy it brought to me then, and during countless re-reads. 


Reading Twilight brings me back to one specific day. I had finished the book and fully fallen in love with every aspect of it. On a very special day in October, I believe, of 2005, Stephenie Meyer was on her first book tour, going to Barnes and Noble Booksellers around the United States talking up her vampire romance. Twilight fever hadn’t hit the world yet, so my local Barnes and Noble in Old Orchard Shopping Center had set up about 20 chairs between the stairs and the opening to the kids section. There was a table set up no more than six feet away from the first row of chairs, where Stephenie and her publicist sat. The crowd wasn’t large. I honestly don’t remember there being more than ten people there: my mom and I, a woman who clearly hadn’t read the book and was just there for the autograph, and maybe three or four others. I believe Stephenie read some of Twilight to us and then took a moment to answer questions. 


What I remember most about that event, however, is going up to the table to get my book signed by Stephenie Meyer herself. This woman, who had written a book based on a simple, but vivid dream and had no idea that just a few short months later, she’d be the author everyone was talking about, was sitting at an uninspiring table, looking a bit out of her element, looking almost as nervous as I was, a junior in college, who was, in a word, starstruck. In hindsight, I know exactly what I would say to her now, but in the moment, all I could do was compliment her on her book. 


Standing in front of her, Stephenie tried to make small talk with me for a moment. “You look kind of like Bella,” she said with a smile. I don’t remember what I said back to her, probably something boring like ‘thank you,’ but that compliment is one I will never forget. I mean, when the author of one of your favorite books tells you you look like the main character--you remember it forever. I’d like to think that when Stephenie and the producers were casting the film version of Twilight, she thought back to the day she met a short brunette girl with porcelain skin and a heart shaped face at one of her first book signings.


The time I could have chatted with her would have been such a gift--one that will never come around again, because the world, like me, fell in love with her Twilight Saga. The green author I met that day at the signing is long gone and my chance to really talk to her about her books went away with her. That being said, I still love that day and re-reading Twilight, especially re-reading the book she signed, always brings me back to this moment when I actually met Stephenie. 


If I’m being honest, I am a different person now than in 2005, when I first read Twilight and had this signing experience. I’ve grown and, honestly, will tell you straight out that I hold the sequels and movies in far less regard than the book that started it all. Even so, that doesn’t make Bella being asked out to the Sadie Hawkins-style dance repeatedly to Edward’s delight, any less fun.


Re-reading your favorite books not only transports you back to a story you love, but also to the place you were when you were reading it. That is one of the joys of re-reading that doesn’t get discussed as often as it should. Maybe your favorite title is one you read around your wedding day. Or, sadly, around the time a loved one passed away. Maybe your favorite book was given to you by a very dear friend and is a reminder of their love. Re-reading can bring up to the surface so many memories and feelings you may not have thought or felt for a while. 


Twilight isn’t the only book I love to revisit. I’ve re-read The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper numerous times since I picked up The Grey King as a sixth grader. The Keeper of the Lost Cities series by Shannon Messenger is one I enjoy revisiting as well. The same goes for the fantastic series Vampirates by Justin Somper, the poorly named, but oh so good, Immortal Beloved series by Cate Tiernan, and my favorite of all of Stephenie Meyer’s books, The Host.


I want to set a challenge for you. Take a minute and think about a book or books you haven’t read in a while. Books you loved. Books that made an impact on you. Next time you’re looking for something to read, consider re-reading one of the books that came to mind. Take notice of the emotions or memories that come up while re-reading the title. Enjoy the reunion with whatever book you choose, because it’s sure to be an adventure, even if it’s the second, third, or the hundredth time.

  Adult Services Assistant Librarian Ashley Brooke Sero