About the Library


Share the joy of discovery.


The Ela Library nurtures a caring community in which:

  • All are welcome and treated with respect and kindness.

  • Access to library resources is easy, equitable, and protected.

  • Knowledge evolves, and creativity shines.


Every three years, the library embarks on a strategic planning process to consider current, anticipated and possible future community needs. The current plan reflects results from our Community Survey conducted summer 2022, demographic information, analysis from the Board of Trustees, and staff input. The Mission, Vision, Strategic Priorities & Goals make up our Strategic Plan for 2023-2025.

Service Area

The Ela Area Public Library District serves almost all of the Villages of Lake Zurich, Kildeer, and Hawthorn Woods; plus portions of North Barrington and Long Grove. See the map for details.

Ela Library District plus Municipalities map

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.

Library Stories Project

We've been collecting your favorite Library memories and you can read them at our Library Stories Project page. Enjoy the memories of other community members and submit your own.  

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.  

  • 2007: The Library is awarded a $25,000 grant to exhibit "Anne Frank: A Private Photo Album."

  • 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.   

  • 2014: The Children's Department is remodeled, with interactive play spaces, front-facing bookshelves, and spaces for families to gather. 2nd floor Study Rooms are renovated. 

  • 2015: 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. 

  • 2019: Dinosaur Discoveries exhibit opens, drawing record numbers of visitors to the Library.

  • 2023: New Children's meeting room & service desk; new materials sorter; new 2nd floor conference room; revamped team spaces.

  • 2023: The Ela Area Public Library District celebrates its 50th Anniversary.