Tuesday, January 23, 2007
The Schaumburg Township District Library is a welcoming, comfortable library to access for research materials, study for class, or have a leisurely read. The staff is friendly and helpful, and it is extremely easy to navigate what seems like an extremely large library. The library also accepts non-residents as patrons, with very few impediments compared to the availability of services for Schaumburg cardholders. From food to a fireplace, DVDs to international books, and computers to special programs, STDL seems to have everything a patron could want in a library.
The Schaumburg Township District Library went through a number of changes from 1958 to the present day. In 1958, a committee was organized to begin plans for forming a library. After bookmobile services and a private library were available in Schaumburg and Hoffman Estates respectively, voters approved a tax-supported Schaumburg Library in 1962; in 1963, it opened in a house near the corner of Roselle and Schaumburg Roads. In 1965, a new library was constructed, and in 1972, building expansion was completed. The Hoffman Estates Branch opened in 1976, and an addition to the Central Library was completed in 1987. In 1993, the Hanover Park Branch opened, and in 1997, the library broke ground for a new Central Library, which was completed in 1998. The new building was designed by Phillips Swager Associates, constructed by Turner Construction, and decorated by Chicago Designs. There is a time capsule located outside the building’s main entrance to be opened in the future.
The Schaumburg Township District Library’s support for art is extremely apparent as you walk throughout the building. At the main entrance is “Computing the Future,” a life-size bronze statue of a man sitting on a bench reading a book, created by J. Seward Johnson. Young children are particularly fond of the sculpture, and enjoy touching it and sitting next to it. “Persian Wall,” a glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly, is another piece of art located inside the library above the fireplace within the New Books and Fiction area. In the Youth Services area, a gallery displays original illustrations from popular children’s book, like Where the Wild Things Are. The Enchanted Forest is also laden with figures and murals from additional children’s books, such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Mother Goose, and The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Dioramas in the Youth Department also depict life in Illinois from the 1600s to the 1900s. Perhaps the most prominent display in the library is Richard Hunt’s “Open Book,” a bronze sculpture located on the second floor that depicts “a book open to information and imagination,” according to Hunt.
The Café immediately inside the main entrance at the library has awesome coffee and sandwiches if you need to stay and study for an extended period of time. Although the library does not allow food inside, stopping by the Café is a great way to take a break, watch the game on TV for a few minutes, or grab another dose of caffeine for a long night of studying. Across from the Café is the book drop-off, separated into Adult Books, Juvenile Books, Other Materials, and Videos.
Upon entering the main lobby, to the left is the New Books & Fiction section of the library. On the left wall, artwork by local grade school, junior high, or high school students, as well as professional, independent artists, is always on display; to the right is the New Fiction Wall. The focal point of the room is the fireplace, where seating is available for patrons to enjoy a good book. This section of the library also contains large print books. “Browse” the Fiction section by going to http://www.mydeo.com/videorequest.asp?XID=3483&CID=67949.
Moving in a clockwise motion around the first floor, the New Books & Fiction connects to Youth Services via the Teen Center. At the Schaumburg Township District Library, Teen Services provides a comfortable environment for junior high and high school students to call their own. Decorated with a sports theme, the teen area supplies teens with a CD listening station, computers, magazines, and game tables; most importantly, it is a unique place for teens to meet with friends to converse and complete homework. The Teen Advisory Board organizes outings and plans library services for teens, such as coffeehouses, board game tournaments, book discussions, and more. The Teen Writing Club is another group open to students in junior high and high school who want to share their work with one another. On a typical afternoon, the Teen Center is full of students, working on homework…of course.
Youth Services provides reference, fiction, nonfiction, easy books, readers, an international languages collection, videos, DVDs, CDs, and CD-ROMs to children in preschool through eighth grade. A computer station is accessible to patrons under the age of 14, and contrary to many polices, adults who wish to use a computer must be accompanied by a child. The computers provide Word and Internet access, as well as various educational games for preschool and elementary grade students. There are many programs offered through Youth Services as well, and Quiet Study, Discussion, and Craft Rooms can also be found within Youth Services. Additionally, children may call the Story Phone to hear a different story or poem each week. However, the highlight of Youth Services is definitely The Enchanted Forest, which features scenes from popular children’s books, and provides an enjoyable area for children to read and play. A no-dial phone hidden in a tree trunk plays stories recorded by library staff as well.
In Town Square, the library’s audio visual department, patrons can find over 100,000 materials, including CDs, sheet music, audio books, DVDs and videos, CD-ROMs, and a video/listening room. One wall is completely covered with VHS material, an interesting sight to see. Many of the other walls display music or movie memorabilia. Frequently there are movie viewing nights in the back of the room which are announced to the library over a PA system. The library also holds concerts outside in the summer at the Town Square pond across the street.
STDL cardholders can check out any item in the library, such as a new DVD to view for three days, or at most, three new CDs for seven days, and any number of bestsellers for seven days. Cardholders may have a maximum number of 80 items checked out at one time, and can place reserves on items via the phone or online catalog. Visitors from other libraries may not check out new audio visual materials, but can take out a maximum of two DVDs for three days, and any number of bestsellers or books. Visitors may not checkout more than 40 items at one time, and also cannot place reserves.
Patrons visit the Circulation Department to return books, to pay overdue fines, to check out materials, or to obtain or register a library card. The Schaumburg Township District Library outreach services, handled mainly through the Extension Services Department, offer services to patrons in the district who have special needs and may require such equipment as a motorized scooter or a wheelchair, a sign language interpreter, the Kurzweil Machine, which converts the printed word into speech, magnifiers, an Adapt-A-Lap reading easel, or talking books. There are also large print books and board games printed with Braille, and additional services that deliver books to the homebound and children’s programs during the summer.
Book sales are held on six separate days throughout the year from 9 am – 2 pm in the library basement. The next one will be held on March 10.
Countless numbers of programs are available to patrons, such as Special Programs for children and adults like “Holiday Cards” and “Genealogy Group,” Reading Programs, Discussion Groups, Instructional Workshops, Business, Musical Programs, and Youth Computer Programs.
The library also accepts various types of donations. Books and audiovisual materials may be added to the library's collection if they are not already sufficiently represented in the collection, are in good condition, are unique, or have reasonable literary value. If the library cannot use a donation of this nature, it will be given to the Friends of the Library, which will use it in a book sale. Monetary donations typically go toward the Art Fund but may be requested to be used toward a specific purpose. Donations can also be made in memoriam of a friend or relative.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Currently, the Library Board is comprised of the President, Vice President/Secretary, Treasurer, the Library Director, and four other Trustees. The Trustees are either elected or appointed, and can serve a four or six year term. The Board hires and evaluates the Library Director, oversees public funds, creates policies for the library, and participates in the library’s public relations program.
On the second floor of STDL is Adult Nonfiction, as well as an International Collection featuring different languages, from Spanish to Hindi. There is also a Literacy Collection, used with some of the Extension Services the library offers. Extension Services are offered for adults, such as author visits, cooking classes, health and medicine lectures, art lectures and slideshows, travel programs, book discussion groups, and senior programs. Services are also available to those patrons who wish to improve their reading skills, take English-as-a-Second-Language classes, or use the Adult Basic Education collection. Also, if you are in the library on the second floor, you often can tell when a class or meeting is taking place in the Rasmussen Room or classroom because there is always a group of people speaking loudly as they are coming up or going down the stairs at one time.
At the center of the second floor is Reference Services, an area full of thousands of reference books, electronic databases, an Illinois Collection, high school textbooks, and more. The Schaumburg Library also offers numerous pamphlets for patrons to use in order to find more information from the Internet. Such topics include college and financial aid information, genealogy information, learning the English language, and movie information. There is a large display of different colored pamphlets offering Internet information at the Reference Desk. Near the Reference Desk is the Information and Magazine Desk. There, staff help patrons with magazines, the special equipment room, and the sometimes temperamental copy machines.
The Adult Computer Lab is located on the second floor toward the back of the library and is accessible to patrons age 15 and older. The computers are open to anyone on a first come, first served basis; however, there is a time limit when there are patrons waiting to use the computers. All patrons must sign in at the Computer Assistance Desk, and non-cardholders must obtain a card to print materials, whereas cardholders may deduct money from their library cards. Adult and Senior computer classes are offered there through the library as well.
FIND IT is Schaumburg’s all-in-one online search, with 80 databases organized into 19 categories, and access to full-text issues of old journals. The library’s “digital branch,” STDL 24/7, offers 1500 popular titles and Online Book Clubs, which send participants portions of a book over a week, allowing patrons to decide if they want to check the book out from the library. People can also submit questions, use research databases and Homework Help, find a Community Group, and learn about the history of Schaumburg Township at STDL 24/7.
For more information about the Schaumburg Township District Library, visit its website at http://www.stdl.org.