About the Library

Mission Statement

Share the joy of discovery.

Our Vision for the Future

Every three years, the library embarks on a strategic planning process to consider current, anticipated and possible future community needs. Working with the community, Ela Library staff, Board of Trustees and volunteers, we identified our mission, vision, and core values. These all provide the foundation for the kinds of services that we develop and prioritize, and we're sure that you can see some of your own values reflected here.


  • Fostering Curiosity
  • Promoting Innovation
  • Empowerment through Inclusivity
  • Working in Collaboration


We are the hub of a vibrant community.

We are a place of lifelong learning.

We foster open dialogue, respect, and understanding.

We are an inspiration to the larger library community.

Library History

Named for George Ela, the area's first postmaster, the library collection was first maintained by the Lake Zurich Woman's Club. In 1972, the Ela Area Public Library opened its doors in the basement of Lake Zurich's St. Francis de Sales Church. The library occupied 3,000 square feet, and the North Suburban Library System provided a field librarian, legal counsel, basic materials and expenses to launch a referendum.

    Other Milestones

    • 1973: Residents vote in favor of establishing a tax-supported library.    

    • 1972-1982:  The basement of St. Francis de Sales continues as the Library's home. Referenda to build a new building to house the Library fails in 1977 and 1978. Finally, in 1980 a referendum to build a 10,000 square foot building for $625,000 passes by 419 votes. Construction of the new building on Buesching Road begins in February 1981.  

    • 1989: Voters pass a referendum to expand and renovate the Library. The building project adds a second floor which becomes the Children's Department and adds more space on the first floor for the reference and nonfiction collections, public computers and staff office space.  

    • 1999: Referendum to build a new 70,000 sq. ft. building is approved by the Library district voters.  

    • 2002: The Library opens its doors at 275 Mohawk Trail.  

    • 2009: The Popular Materials Department is reorganized to create a more usable patron-friendly space, making the department clearer and easier to navigate, improving customer service, providing adequate shelving that can accommodate patron traffic and creating more lounging areas.  

    • 2010: The Library marks a huge milestone by circulating over 1,000,000 items in one year.  

    • 2011: Two state-of-the-art Digital Media Labs are constructed on the 2nd floor.  

    • 2012: 40th-anniversary celebration.  

    • 2014: The Children's Department and 2nd floor begin renovation. Construction starts on Forge, the Library's makerspace.   

    • 2015: Renovations are completed. The Library opens Forge, a place to build, invent, tinker, learn and create.   

    • 2018: Library pays off "mortgage" on the building. The final bond payment is made in December.