Library Stories

Library Stories Project

Earlier this year we asked you to tell us your memories of Ela Library and the response has been phenomenal.

Thank you for sharing your stories!

Tell us your story.


I have never laughed so much

“This is the first library where I have felt appreciated, have taken on leadership and look forward to coming in to work every day. I have never laughed so much and truly enjoyed myself at a job before. I feel safe to be myself, to take care of myself and truly feel I have found my library home.” 

—Amy H., staff

The service was her lifeline

"I moved to Lake Zurich in 1988 and my mother had to move in with me due to health reasons - macular degeneration. The library in our previous area was not very up to date on services for the visually impaired so we didn't know what to expect. It couldn't have been smoother and the staff at Ela assisted us with everything from equipment to new releases, address changes, etc. The service was her lifeline for the next 11 years and we were both grateful for having such a knowledgeable and professional staff available for services like this."

David S., patron

I worked on getting a referendum passed

“Ela Library was a big part of my life for over 25 years! It began even before there was a tax-supported library when I used the little library on Lions Drive and volunteered at it. In the early 70's I worked on getting a referendum passed to have a publicly sustained library and I became a charter member of the Friends of the Library in 1976. A few years later I began working there--and stayed until 2001! 

Obviously, I always believed in the importance of the library for the area and found it a dynamic, stimulating place. If ever there was and is a library that is the heart of the community, Ela is it. I had wonderful experiences with the library operation and staff and have always been proud to have been a part of its first 25 years. I know it has continued to excel in true Ela tradition. Congratulations on this landmark anniversary and good luck in the future.” 

—Marian M., former staff member

My job allows me to share my creativity

“I love working here because my job allows me to share my creativity with our amazing community. My goal is to help our patrons feel comfortable trying a new skill or project in the Forge.... Within my short time here, I have enjoyed seeing many amazing projects done by our patrons.” 

—Yolanda P., staff member

I was always very proud

“I kind of like to say that I grew up with the community and I became a senior with those that I served. And I was always very proud of the way that this community responded to the needs of older adults.” 

—Christy W., former staff member

I get a nice warm feeling about coming here

“I feel when I come here that I have made so many friends here that I always ... get smiles and hellos and ... I get a nice warm feeling about coming here all the time ... I feel like I’m home.” 

—Emma G., volunteer

It’s a comfortable place to go

“It’s a comfortable place to go … I guess that’s the biggest impact. It’s somewhere I know I can go within business hours and spend a little or a long time, and there’s always something to do even if I show up early for a program, I don’t ever worry about being bored, because I don’t know how you could be in a library.”  

—Liz H., patron 

I just loved it

“My best memory is when I worked there. This was about maybe thirty-five years ago or more. I worked at the information desk when the library was on Buesching Rd. Pretty much just answered the phone and helped patrons find stuff. And gabbed with Martha. But I just loved it.... Didn't need the money. Just wanted to work there.... What a great job.” 

—Chuck S., former staff member

Our favorite thing as a family is the Peeps dioramas

“I think that probably our favorite thing as a family is the Peeps dioramas. We have been doing them forever.... And we, you know, worked on them together in the beginning, and now the last few years my kids are old enough that they don’t really want any help, so I do my own. I decided I’m gonna do my own because it’s fun for me too.... We moved to Germany for a few years and while we were there we really missed doing the Peep dioramas—and they don’t have Peeps in Germany—so a friend of ours bought us a whole bunch of Peeps, and when we came home in the summer gave them to us. So we even did Peep dioramas while we were in Germany.” 

—Andrea M., patron 

We did everything hands on

“At first, I would process about 200-300 books a year for ILL. By the time I retired, it was over 40,000. We did everything hands on. Nowadays, the sorter checks in all the items, but back then, we had to do all that manually.” 

—Emily S., former staff member 

I could not have asked for a better place to bring my kids

“Being a Mom of triplets I could not have asked for a better place to bring my kids and explore, play, and learn. Not only by themselves but with others too ... everything was so enjoyable and life saving for a Mom that wanted a safe place that had loads of activities for me to do with the kids.... So many great times spent at this library.” 

—Coleen G., patron

My kids never laughed so loud

“I am very proud of the way our library serves the community.... During the pandemic, the Children's Department's full-sized Candyland game was such a hit.... For our family, we had three generations playing (walking) the board, and my kids never laughed so loud than when poor Grandpa had to go all the way back to the Peppermint Forest.” 

—Christy S., staff member

I remember sitting in the parking lot with families and friends

“One of my earliest memories was helping move some of the library's items that had been in storage in the basement of St Francis church over to the Buesching Rd location in the late 80s. My family moved to Lake Zurich in 1985, and I attended St. Francis school and church.... My dad signed up with our van to be one of the movers. I remember donuts were provided from Old World Bakery, and I remember sitting in the parking lot with families and friends while old file boxes were carted out of the basement.” 

—Jillian L., staff member

Having a strongly supported library in any community is just vital

“I’ve always loved reading since a very young age, and I think having a strongly supported library in any community is just vital to the success and the longevity of the community.”  

—Ken W., former board member 

Getting my library card made me feel like I was home

“It’s the first place I found when I moved to Illinois. Getting my library card made me feel like I was home.” 

—Alisha C., patron 

I can’t wait to start some new projects!

“Over the years, I must have walked past the Forge more than 100 times but I just couldn't step inside. Finally, a few weeks ago, I mustered up the courage and walked in. I'm so glad I did! ... I got so much information from the fellow who assisted me, and the project ideas started flowing! ... I'm looking forward to exploring all the Forge has to offer. And I can't wait to start some new projects!" 

—Cathy M., board member 

Then I realized he had unscrewed it from the card catalog

“I was trying to locate a book in the card catalog. Remember them? I wrote down the call number and was about to go look for it, when my son, who was only two or three years old at the time tapped me and showed me a metal dowel with a small knob on the end. I had no idea what it was or where he had gotten it from. He had been standing next to me the entire time. Then I realized he had unscrewed it from the card catalog. The dowel had been threaded through hundreds of cards in one of the drawers. I went to a librarian to tell her what happened. She looked like she wanted to scream. Oops! Didn't mean to create work for her, but I was sure if I tried to thread the cards back on the dowel, in no time he would pull another one out.”  

Shari G., patron 

I love that I work at my childhood library

“I love that I work at my childhood library … it’s a little extra special investment in the community and what we do for the community…. At every stage of my life this has just been a great place to be. It’s a great safe place to be.” 

—Amanda M., staff member 

I always enjoyed building the structure

“We were concerned about the cost of building this jukebox for the library’s float. Let’s face it, it is a lot of lumber. At that time, we were getting a delivery on the new Airbus, and the tooling came from France in these crates. The company was just taking these crates and throwing them in the garbage. I decided to take the lumber home, and I tore down the crates. I always enjoyed building the structure. Library staff would come over and decorate.” 

—Mike S., volunteer