Illinois Library Luminaries

Contribute to the Illinois Library Luminaries Fund Now

Illinois Library Luminaries honor those who have made a significant contribution to Illinois libraries and whose supporters make a contribution of at least $1,000 to the Illinois Library Association Endowment on their behalf.  The first Luminary was Peggy Sullivan, saluted by members of the association who benefited from her leadership and contributed $11,975 to the ILA Endowment in 2008 through individual donations of $50 in honor of her more than fifty years of service to the profession.

In 2009, several other Illinois library leaders joined this illustrious group, and we hope to see many more of your friends, mentors, and colleagues in the months and years to come. Candidates need not be librarians, but need to embody the spirit and mission of ILA and can be nominated during their lifetime or posthumously.

This honor roll for Illinois libraries serves the dual purpose of recognizing outstanding voices in the library community, while creating a legacy through the ILA Endowment to continue their important work.

Nominees can be living or deceased.

Nomination Guidelines
Must have made significant contribution to Illinois' libraries, but need not have been a librarian or library staff.

Letter of nomination, outlining key accomplishments (including positions held, honors received) and dates of birth and death, if applicable.

Include photograph and two hundred maximum word biography for use on ILA Web site and other ILA communications.

All nominations require approval by ILA Executive Board.

The person bringing the nomination to the ILA Executive Board will coordinate the donations for the honoree and champion the efforts to raise money within a three year time period.

If after the three year time period the full $1,000 is not raised, the remaining funds will be deposited in the ILA Endowment Fund.

The nominator will ILA of the address of the honoree and/or family as well as any personal information to include in a letter ILA can send to notify the honoree and/or family of the inclusion.

The ILA Fundraising Committee will serve as the liaison between the nominator and ILA.

Induction will be made on receipt of a minimum $1,000 donation to the ILA Endowment.  Luminaries will be honored in the year of their selection.

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Illinois Library Luminaries







Mary Dempsey

Mary Dempsey was appointed Commissioner of the Chicago Public Library (CPL) in 1994 by Mayor Richard M. Daley and reappointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2011.  She served the City of Chicago in that role for nearly two decades until her retirement in 2012.  Words cannot fully express Mary’s passion and commitment to public service and public libraries.  She is a visionary leader, mentor and dedicated advocate for libraries.

Under her direction, 44 new libraries were constructed in Chicago, 13 of which are LEED certified; all libraries were equipped with state of the art technology including free computers and WiFi, access to the Internet and research databases, rich book collections, innovative reading and learning initiatives like One Book, One ChicagoYOUmediaTeacher in the LibraryMoney Smart, author talks, and early literacy programs for ages 0 – 5.  Two strategic plans for CPL were created and implemented under her direction.

With the Chicago Public Library Foundation, Mary raised the Carl Sandburg Literary Awards to national prominence. Through her outreach with the Foundation, CPL developed many partners including the Gates Library Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, McCormick Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, Chicago Community Trust, Kraft Foods, Target Corporation, Bank of America, Com Ed, People’s Gas, Federal Reserve Bank, Chicago Humanities Festival, Printers Row Book Festival, Chicago Park District, Archdiocese of Chicago Schools, and Chicago Public Schools to develop and present educational programs and services that continue to enhance lifelong learning and quality of life for all Chicagoans.

Inducted Friday, 24 April 2015


Peggy Sullivan

Peggy Sullivan received the American Library Association's (ALA) highest honor in being named an Honorary ALA Member in 2008, recognizing more than fifty years of dedicated service to the profession of librarianship. 

Illinois is fortunate, indeed, to have Sullivan and her boundless energy in residence.  Sullivan received her doctorate from the University of Chicago and is widely regarded for her leadership in the field. 

Her many achievements include having served as director of the Knapp School Libraries Project, commissioner for Extension Services at the Chicago Public Library, dean of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Rosary College (now Dominican University), and dean of the College of Professional Studies at Northern Illinois University. 

She has mentored many librarians in Illinois and served as inspiration to others through these positions as well as through her leadership in professional associations, having served as president of ALA's Children's Services Division (now the Association for Library Service to Children or ALSC), ALA President, and ALA Executive Director. 

Sullivan lives in Chicago and continues to be an active member of the profession and a powerful advocate for libraries.

Inducted 2009

Judy Krug

Judith Fingeret Krug, 1940-2009

No person is more closely identified with libraries and the cause of intellectual freedom than Judith F. Krug, ILA member and director of the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom since it was founded in 1967. 

During that time, Krug helped to found the Freedom to Read Foundation and served as its executive director from 1969 until her death in 2009.  In 1982, she helped to create Banned Books Week, now an annual event. 

An April 14, 2009, editorial in the New York Times celebrated Krug's role in promoting and protecting a precious First Amendment right:  the freedom to read.  The editorial noted that Krug, "assisted countless local librarians and library trustees dealing with objections to library materials." 

Among her many honors, Krug received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the 2009 William J. Brennan Award, presented posthumously by the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression.

Inducted Friday, 4 December 2009

Pat Scarry

Patricia Ann Scarry, 1949-2009

Patricia Scarry was the director of the Sussex County (Delaware) Department of Libraries and the Fairfield (South Carolina) County Library prior to arriving in Illinois. 

She joined the American Library Association (ALA) in 1980 to establish the Chapter Relations Office and served as the association's liaison to ILA and other state associations throughout the 1980s. 

As one of the youngest presidents of the Delaware Library Association, she brought the perspective of member affiliates to ALA and worked to make the larger association responsive to the needs of the state associations.  

As ALA Membership Director, she was a technology innovator, leading ALA's transition to a database driven membership system and implementing new technologies for key member services.  She was a tireless advocate for reading, libraries, and the disenfranchised.

Inducted Friday, 4 December 2009


Michael Madden

As former director of the Schaumburg Township District Library, Michael Madden was a leading force in local, state and national arenas, representing libraries and lending his talents to keep libraries relevant. 

He served on and chaired numerous ILA and ALA committees during his more than forty years in the profession, served as ILA Treasurer, and taught classes in business librarianship at Rosary College (now Dominican University).  His mentoring skills resulted in several former staff members becoming library directors, as well as one being elected president of ILA. 

Among his innovations as a library director, he worked to install two teens as library trustees benefiting the library and the community.

Inducted Friday, 4 December 2009


Sarah Ann Long

As the former director of the North Suburban Library System (NSLS), Sarah Long led an organization of more than 650 academic, public, school, and special libraries in the north/northwest suburbs of Chicago. 

Long was president of the American Library Association in 1999-2000 and is a past president of the Public Library Association.  In her more than forty years of library leadership, she has worked with libraries and library organizations in five states, including Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Oregon, and worked as an academic librarian in England. 

Often ahead of her time, Long pioneered Internet access in NSLS libraries and earlier in her career led winning library referenda campaigns in Pennsylvania and Oregon.  A frequent speaker and contributor at conferences, online, and in print, she is a six-time recipient of the John Cotton Dana Award for excellence in public relations, presented annually by the American Library Association.  Her many awards and recognitions include being named the ILA Librarian of the Year in 1999.

Inducted Friday, 4 December 2009


Bridget Later Lamont

Bridget Later Lamont served as director of the Illinois State Library for more than a decade from 1983 – 1999.  In the position, she fostered library development, expanded use of technology in libraries, and encouraged multi-type library cooperation. 

Lamont later served as director of Policy Development for the Governor of Illinois.  Lamont also served as Vice Chairman of the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science. 

She received the 1990 Outstanding Achievement Award from the American Library Association, was named Librarian of the Year by the Illinois Library Association in 1991, and received an honorary doctorate from Rosary College (now Dominican University) in 1994.

Inducted Friday, 4 December 2009



Mary Josephine Booth, 1876-1965

Eastern Illinois University's Booth Library nominates its namesake, Mary Josephine Booth (1876-1965), to be recognized as an ILA Illinois Library Luminary.  From 1904 to 1945 (41 years), Booth served as the library director at Eastern.

Diligent and industrious, dedicated and efficient, Booth built a library collection to support the ever-changing needs of the institution.  She promoted library literacy as essential for all educated people.  She inspired generations of students and educators to value libraries. 

She spearheaded a successful twenty-year campaign for a new library building at Eastern (completed in 1950).  Professionally, she was very active in the Illinois Library Association, serving as treasurer from 1913-1914, and as president from 1915-1916. 

Booth served with the American Library Association overseas during World War I.  As a scholar, she gave a variety of presentations, wrote articles for professional journals, and authored several important bibliographies.

Inducted Friday, 4 December 2009

Barry Levine

Barry Levine, 1950-2009

Barry Levine was a "champion" for all things library -- including accessibility.  A distinguished leader, popular and respected throughout the state, Levine's passion, leadership and outstanding work for libraries earned him much recognition. 

He received ILA's Trustee of the Year Award in 2001, the Alexander J. Skrzypek Award in 2004, and the Robert S. Bray award in 2009, among others.  Levine was also a founding member of ISL's Talking Book and Braille Service.

His dedication to library users crossed a broad spectrum.  He was a true visionary who contributed to effectively moving libraries into the future and embracing service for all.

Inducted Friday, 4 December 2009



Sharon S. Ball, 1950-2009

Sharon Ball was the consummate system consultant.  Before going to the North Suburban Library System, she was a youth services librarian at Roselle and Helen M. Plum Memoiral Public Library District in Lombard and the youth services department head at Villa Park. 

Ball brought to system work an understanding of the needs of youth services librarians, and she quickly learned about the needs of the school and special librarians with whom she worked.  She left a spark of shining light with everyone she met and everyone with whom she worked.  She was a mentor, a colleague and a friend.  She taught her system consultant colleagues how to handle situations with grace, tact and good humor.  It was always by example or modeling. 

When she spoke, she made a person feel like they were the most important person in the world.  She was a storyteller, a reader, an accomplished grant writer and master project manager.  She could do all of these things with a twinkle in her eye, a smile on her lips and a positive attitude with the "good, good" response. 

She did not expect awards or accolades, but she received the Davis Cup Award from the Illinois Library Association's Youth Services Forum in 2002 and the Polestar Award from the Illinois School Library Media Association in 2008.  Ball was an individual who "led from the middle" and created positive changes in the profession.

Inducted Friday, 12 February 2010


Robert R. McClarren

In 1967 Robert R. McClarren was named founding director of the North Suburban Library System.  Upon retirement in 1989 he was named System Director Emeritus. McClarren provided substantive and exemplary leadership for the development of the fledgling regional library systems.  His unprecedented mastery of the legislative process and untiring advocacy work resulted in legislation that remains the bedrock of Illinois library legislation.  ILA's Robert R. McClarren Legislative Development Award is named in his honor. 

McClarren was named ILA Librarian of the Year in 1978 and served as ILA President in 1981.  McClarren was Treasurer of the American Library Association 1968 - 1972.

Inducted Friday, 12 February 2010


Burton Joseph, 1930-2010

Burton Joseph was a friend to Illinois libraries in a way that only a true civil libertarian could be.  In one of his early cases, he represented a Lake County bookseller's right to sell Henry Miller's novel Tropic of Cancer, securing a favorable decision before the Illinois Supreme Court in 1964.  

Joseph may be best known for his work on cases such as the National Socialist Party of America seeking to demonstrate in Skokie in 1978 and the American Library Association's successful opposition to the constraints of the Communications Decency Act in 1997.

He always championed the rights of the underdog, from comic book artists to the retailers who sell their work.  A lifelong supporter of First Amendment rights and the freedom to read, Joseph was executive director of the Playboy Foundation from 1969 to 1978, when he became chairman of its board.  

Joseph was a founding member and former chairman of the Media Coalition, an association that defends the First Amendment right to produce and sell books, movies, magazines, recordings, DVDs, videotapes, and video games.  He was active in and honored by the American Civil Liberties Union, and he was a Freedom to Read Foundation board member and recipient of its 2008 Roll of Honor Award.

Inducted Thursday, 15 April 2010


E.C. Alft

From the time he made Elgin his home in 1950, E.C. "Mike" Alft has spent much of it in the library.  He is recognized as an ever-present user of the Gail Borden Public Library District, having spent nearly sixty years gleaning facts, trivia and curiosities from books and microfilm. 

A teacher, constant reader, mayor and local historian, he has written more than a dozen books and booklets – one a history of Gail Borden Library, among the oldest public libraries in Illinois.  As a library trustee, he was a participant in the planning for the present building and its branch. 

A staunch supporter of the Freedom to Read and the Library Bill of Rights, he led board discussions when community members voiced complaints about materials.   Who better to defend intellectual freedom than one who has logged the more than 2,400 books he has read since the age of fifteen, chiefly works on history, economics, government and classic literature.  Not included in the list are the "light" reading titles he has consumed.

Never idle, Alft continues to offer support with workshops to train newly minted trustees and programs on Elgin's rich history as well as to portray the library namesake, dairyman Gail Borden.

Inducted Thursday, 29 July 2010


Robert Wedgeworth

Robert Wedgeworth's career in librarianship has spanned the nation and the globe, but his present and roots are strongly based in Illinois. 

In addition to his landmark leadership of the American Library Association (ALA) as executive director from 1972-1985, Wedgeworth served as a professor and University Librarian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) from 1993 until he retired from the university in 1999.  He currently lives in Chicago and is noted for his public service to organizations ranging from the Newberry Library to the Poetry Foundation. 

With degrees from Wabash College and the University of Illinois (1961), Wedgeworth had an illustrious career in academic librarianship at Brown University, Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey, and served as dean of the School of Library Service at Columbia University from 1985-1992.  Throughout his career and well into retirement, Wedgeworth continued to serve the profession, assuming the position of president of ProLiteracy Worldwide from 2001-2007. 

He is only the second American to be elected president of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and the only one to serve a second term.  For his many achievements, Wedgeworth has received six honorary doctorates and three of ALA's highest honors, including the Lippincott and Melvil Dewey awards.

Inducted Thursday, 29 July 2010


Debby Miller

Debby Miller has been very active in library activities on the local, state, and national levels, and she is a trustee extraordinaire!

She is a former member and president of the board of the North Suburban Library System.  As a trustee of the Schaumburg Township District Library since 1971, Miller has served as that board’s president several times.  

Her honors include the Illinois Library Association (ILA) Trustee of the Year Award in 1979 and the American Library Association (ALA) Trustee of the Year Award in 1985.  She was president of the ILA’s Trustee Section and an officer and member of the board of ALA’s Association of Library Trustees and Advocates (ALTA).  

Miller served on ALA’s Intellectual Freedom and Legislation committees and was active for many years in the legislation activities of the Illinois Library Association.  She served on the Illinois State Board of Education for twelve years.  

She continues to be active not only at the Schaumburg Township District Library but also on the Arts Commission of the Village of Hoffman Estates as well as assisting in the adult education program at Roosevelt University in Schaumburg.

Inducted Friday, 12 November 2010


Robert P. Doyle

Bob Doyle has been executive director of the Illinois Library Association since 1996, leading the association from a position of financial uncertainty to financial security while continually improving the association's advocacy efforts, communications, and continuing education vehicles. 

Prior to joining ILA, Doyle worked at the American Library Association (ALA) where he created and secured funding for a Fulbright program for librarians and then reestablished ALA's International Relations Office.  As a former staff member of ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom, he has worked since the inception of Banned Books Week to produce the necessary materials and resources to make the event an annual celebration of the "right to read."  He has served on the board of the Freedom to Read Foundation and received its highest honor, the Roll of Honor Award, in 2009. 

Doyle is the author of Banned Books and editor of the ILA Reporter, as well as a regular contributor to national and international library journals and a frequent speaker at conferences and events.  He has served two terms as a member of ALA Council and been active in the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). 

A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Doyle holds an MLS from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  A Milwaukee native, Doyle has lived in Chicago for many years and began his career in librarianship at the Oak Lawn Public Library.

Inducted Friday, 12 November 2010


Ernest J. Martin

Ernie Martin, former associate executive director of the American Library Association (ALA), began working at ALA in 1971.  During his twenty-nine-year career at ALA, Martin oversaw the construction of the ALA headquarters at 50 E. Huron and was responsible for ushering in the computer age, overseeing creation of the fledgling Office of Information Technology and Telecommunications Services.


At different times during his tenure at ALA, Martin was responsible for several key association services including the customer service units of membership services and conference registration, as well as human resources and finance/accounting.  Martin’s steady leadership, calm demeanor, dry sense of humor, and compassion were among the hallmarks of his tenure.  


In addition to his service to ALA, Martin served as a trustee of the Rolling Meadows Public Library and continues to make his home in Rolling Meadows.


Inducted Friday, 12 November 2010


Vandella Brown

As the recipient of Illinois Library Association's 2010 Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial/DEMCO Award, Vandella Brown has been recognized for her outstanding service to libraries and librarians in Illinois. 

Brown was instrumental in developing the Illinois State Library's Diversity Program, which presents nearly forty programs each year.  Her work with ILA's Cultural and Racial Diversity Committee has been instrumental in broadening the association's reach, awareness, and membership.  She was one of the founding mentors of Synergy:  The Library Leadership Initiative, and has worked with libraries to present cultural heritage events in their communities. 

Brown has served as the Illinois State Library's ILLINET-OCLC Services director, director of the East St. Louis Public Library, and on the staff of the Columbus Metropolitan Public Library (Ohio) and the Memphis/Shelby County Public Library (Tennessee).  She received her Master's Degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Iowa. 

In 1977 she received recognition for her research contributing to Alex Haley's Roots, the television series.  In 1997 her article, "African American Fiction:  A Slamming Genre," was published by the American Library Association, and she is the author and contributor to several books including Celebrating the Family:  Steps to Planning a Family Reunion and Writing and Publishing:  The Librarian's Handbook.

Inducted Thursday, 3 February 2011


Sylvia Murphy Williams, 1962-2003

Sylvia Murphy Williams, former ILA President and director of the Dundee Township Public Library, was a visionary leader whose impact on Illinois libraries was profound.  Her untimely death in 2003 prompted the formation of the Sylvia Murphy Williams Scholarship Fund that continues to support Illinois recipients of the ALA Spectrum Scholarships. 

Williams graduated from DePaul University in 1983 and received her graduate degree in 1993 from Dominican University's Graduate School of Library and Information Science.  She began working at the Dundee Township Public Library District in 1995 and previously worked at the Palatine Public Library District (1990-1995) and DePaul University (1980-1990). 

She joined ILA in 1993 and was active on both the Membership Committee (1997-1999) and the Cultural and Racial Diversity Committee (1999-2000) before being elected Vice-President/President-Elect in 2001.  When she assumed the presidency in 2002, she made it a priority to fight against legislation that would constrain intellectual freedom and privacy. 

Williams was also a member of the American Library Association and Public Library Association.  Sylvia was a special mentor, a colleague, and precious friend to many.  She was radiant.  She was so full of life and excitement about her family and her profession that she always graciously welcomed and encouraged others.  Her vibrant personality, great sense of humor, and stunning sense of style are still sorely missed.

Inducted Friday, 11 February 2011



Alphonse F. Trezza, 1920-2009

Alphonse F. Trezza was a pioneer in library leadership in the state of Illinois and the nation.  As director of the Illinois State Library from 1970 to 1975, he fostered resource sharing among libraries and oversaw the establishment of multi-type cooperative library systems, still recognized as one of the best models for service in the country. 

Trezza also served as executive director of the Catholic Library Association; associate executive director of the American Library Association; executive secretary of ALA’s Library Administrative Division (now the Library Association and Management Association); and executive director of the United States National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, where he masterminded the early planning for the White House Conference on Library and Information Services; and professor of the Florida State University School of Library and Information Studies. 

His many accolades and awards include the Librarian’s Citation (1974) and Special Librarian’s Citation (1965) from the Illinois Library Association; Honorary Membership (2007), Joseph W. Lippincott Award (1989) and Exceptional Achievement Award of the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (1981) from the American Library Association; Outstanding Alumnus Award (1963) from Drexel Graduate School of Library Science; and Professor Emeritus status (1993) upon his retirement from Florida State University.

Inducted Friday, 11 February 2011


John W. Berry

Berry’s thirty-six-year career in librarianship, spent almost entirely in Illinois, has included work for the University Libraries of Northern Illinois University and the University of Illinois at Chicago and service as the executive director for the Library Administration and Management Association of the American Library Association. 

He is perhaps best known, however, as the executive director of NILRC, the Network of Illinois Learning Resources in Community Colleges, where for almost 15 years, he managed with distinction and dedication a fifty-member learning resources consortium of community colleges, colleges, and universities in Illinois and Missouri.  His current role as a professor of librarianship at Dominican University is again another example of his giving nature in support of new librarians.

Berry served as president of the American Library Association from 2001 to 2002 and advanced the cause of library recruitment as one of his important presidential initiatives.  In April of 2002, he led a national town hall meeting where he gathered library leaders from around the country to address the need of our profession to recruit enough of the best and the brightest to librarianship.

Berry has always been able to inspire members through his quiet and professional leadership.  He is well spoken and articulate on a wide variety of subjects, especially so as it relates to libraries.

Inducted Friday, 11 February 2011


Kathleen Balcom

In her thirty-seven-year career as a public librarian, Balcom has been an innovator.  She was the director of the Arlington Heights Memorial Library for fifteen years, leading the library through numerous renovations and expansions that nearly doubled the size of the building, making it one of the state's largest.

In 1987, Balcom was elected president of ALA's Public Library Association.  She served on the advisory committee for PLA's new long-range planning process.  She served as a speaker, a regional trainer and a consultant to area libraries in using the program.  She was elected to the ALA Council at-large, as the PLA division councilor, and as the ILA chapter councilor.

In 1997, Balcom was elected President of ILA and led the association during a time of financial crisis.  She helped ILA develop a long-range plan, raised funds to continue the association's advocacy program, and helped establish a capital reserve fund to improve financial stability in the future.

Balcom was selected as a mentor for the first national Snowbird Leadership Institute and the first Illinois Synergy Leadership Initiative.  Upon her retirement, the Arlington Heights Board of Library Trustees established a scholarship in her honor to assist employees seeking to earn a library degree.  In 2004, she was honored as ILA's Librarian of the Year and was given the first Lifetime Achievement Award by the North Suburban Library System.

Inducted Thursday, 10 November 2011

Tobi and Tom


Tobi Oberman and Tom Rich

Tobi Oberman and Tom Rich are founding members of the Reaching Forward Conference, and currently serve as co-chairs.  The inaugural Reaching Forward Conference was held in 1990 to serve the continuing education needs of library support staff.  Now in its third decade, Reaching Forward is the nation’s premier one-day conference serving library staff at all levels.  

Under Oberman and Rich’s leadership, Reaching Forward has provided education opportunities to tens of thousands of library staff in Illinois.  The Reaching Forward Committee recognized their contributions by naming an award in their honor, the Oberman-Rich Award, acknowledging the contributions of a support staff member to the library community by providing a scholarship to attend the Reaching Forward Conference.

After years of working in partnership with the Illinois Library Association (ILA), they oversaw the process by which Reaching Forward became a forum of ILA. Obermand and Rich have served ILA in many capacities.  Both have served on the Executive Board, on multiple ILA Annual Conference Program Committees, and on the ILA Awards Committee.  Oberman has also served on an exhibitor relations task force and the ILA Nominating Committee and considers serving on the Executive Director Selection Committee that hired Bob Doyle to be her finest moment of service to the association.

In 1993, they were named the first Public Librarians of the Year by the North Suburban Library System for their work with Reaching Forward.  Nationally, they have both served on the ALA Empowerment Conference Planning Committee, bringing the Reaching Forward model to the ALA Annual Conference.  Oberman has also served on several ALA Awards Committees.

At the time of induction, Oberman was Head of Circulation Services at Skokie Public Library and Rich was an Independent Library Consultant and serves as President of the Zion-Benton Public Library Board of Trustees.

Inducted Friday, 10 February 2012

Nancy L. Smith photo


Nancy L. Smith, 1945-2011

Nancy Smith was a Dixon native who earned her MLS degree from the University of Illinois, and devoted more than thirty years to serving Illinois libraries.  

She was Director of the Mount Morris Public Library from 1976 to 1985, when she accepted a position at the Dixon Correctional Center, where she worked to establish the prison library.  In 1998, Smith went to work for the Prairie Area Library System, where she served as a consultant to public libraries until those positions were eliminated due to budget cuts in 2010.

Through her tireless efforts and her compassion, Smith proved to be the public librarian's best friend.  She always found the answers we needed, generally the same day.  Her orientation for new library directors and trustees started many of us on the correct path through the maze of legislation and policies within which libraries operate.  
Smith was an enthusiastic cheerleader who guided many librarians through the labyrinth of grant applications and other projects.  She always managed to make us feel that our questions were not stupid, even when they were.
She was an unassuming individual who avoided the limelight, but her mentorship meant so much to so many in the Illinois library community.
Inducted Friday, 15 June 2012 




Diana Hunter

Diana Hunter has served on the board of the Skokie Public Library for more than forty years.  First appointed in 1969, she was re-elected numerous times in her long and noteworthy career.  She became president of the board in 1980 and served as president or vice president thereafter. 

In 1982 Hunter inaugurated the “Young Steinway Concert Series” with the acquisition of a Steinway piano, offering a showcase for young musicians and Hunter’s vision of the library as a cultural center.  A continual source of ideas and inspiration, Diana brought numerous exhibits and speakers to the library through her many connections in the community and beyond. 

She was named Trustee of the Year by the American Library Association (ALA) in 1983 and received the Humanities Service Award from the Illinois Humanities Council in 1999. 

As an active member of the Illinois Library Association (ILA) and the Public Library Association (PLA), as well as ALA and United for Libraries:  Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF), Hunter advocates for libraries at legislative days in Springfield and Washington D.C. 

The Skokie Public Library received the National Medal for Museum and Library Service from the Institute for Museum and Library Service (IMLS) during Hunter’s board presidency in 2008.

Inducted Friday, 9 November 2012


Susan K. Roberts, 1947-2007

Throughout her career, Susan Roberts mentored countless new librarians and library directors, encouraging them to join the profession and become colleagues.

She served as administrative librarian of the Grande Prairie Public Library in Hazel Crest from 1993 until 2007.  Passionate about library collaboration, she was active in the Illinois Library Association and the Illinois Library Systems, serving on many committees that helped define reference standards, resource sharing, and working on system consolidation issues.

At Grande Prairie, she tirelessly sought grant support for programs and events that ranged from training library volunteers to read to children in homeless shelters to library advocacy and bringing together community stakeholders.  She was the impetus for a statewide effort dubbed Capped Crusaders that sought to inform legislators about the impact of tax caps on libraries and advocate for tax cap relief in Illinois communities.

Earlier in her career, she held positions at the Oak Lawn Public Library, American Medical Association, and Governors State University.

Inducted Friday, 9 November 2012


Lynn M. Hammerlund

Lynn M. Hammerlund is one of Illinois’ unsung heroes who quietly goes about the business of ensuring that her hometown library functions at the highest level, that her peers and colleagues are taught the principles of librarianship well, and that her students are information-literacy overachievers. 

She was appointed to the Algonquin Area Public Library District (AAPLD) Board of Trustees in 1988 and has served twenty-four consecutive years, twenty of them as board president.  As trustee and president, Hammerlund has done all the big things that allowed AAPLD to become a Library Journal 4 Star Library.  She led two successful referenda resulting in the construction of a new 35,000-square-foot central library and the renovation of an 18,000-square-foot branch library.  From 1988 through 2002, she led the library district through eight successful annexations of the Algonquin, Lake in the Hills, and Carey communities. 

Hammerlund earned her master’s in library and information studies at Northern Illinois University and is a key part of the library staff at Judson University, with a thirty-year tenure as associate professor.  In 2012 she was a winning contestant on Jeopardy, cementing the reputation of librarians as very smart people.

Inducted Friday, 8 February 2013



Beverly Lynch

Beverly Lynch has a long and distinguished record in librarianship in Illinois and nationally as a librarian, library educator, and library leader.

She became executive director of the Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association, in 1972.  Following that, she served as university librarian and professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago from 1977 to 1989.  Lynch was president of the American Library Association in 1985-86 and twice served as interim president of the Center for Research Libraries in Chicago.

Her tenure at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) includes serving as dean and professor in the Department of Information Studies at UCLA, founding director of the California Rare Book School, and directing the UCLA Senior Fellows Program.

Lynch has received many honors and awards, including the Melvil Dewey Medal (2012) and the Lippincott Award (2009), both awarded by the American Library Association.  She holds a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Illinois and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin.

Inducted Friday, 26 April 2013


Rose Allen
Rose Allen's library career  began in 1969 and in 1987, she starting working at the Mount Prospect Public Library (MPPL) as a library assistant. After raising her family, she returned to school, earning a bachelor's degree from Northern Illinois University (NIU) and a master's in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) while working full time. 
She served on the ILA Reaching Forward Committee, ALA Support Staff Round Table, and was instrumental in forming a support staff group at MPPL.  She was elected to the ILA Executive Board and served on numerous ILA committees, including Awards, Membership, Cultural and Racial Diversity committees, and is a recipient of the Jane O'Brien Award recognizing her work.   
After becoming teen services librarian at MPPL, her leadership and outreach efforts expanded the library's visibility and her positive impact on the community was acknowledged when awarded the "Toast of the Town" award by the Village of Mount Prospect.  She has served on young adult committees with both ILA and ALA, reviewing books, and speaking, moderating and providing displays at programs.  
Allen's love for reading developed at an early age, overcoming Maryland segregation laws that barred her from the library.  Mentored by her school librarian, she read everything her family could buy, borrow or were given.
Inducted Friday, 14 June, 2013


A. Denise Farrugia

A. Denise Farrugia is to be credited with establishing the framework for running a financially successful iREAD program, now one of the cornerstones of the Illinois Library Association.  As a three-time chair of the iREAD Committee, she established iREAD’s popularity and credibility with libraries in Illinois.  While she was not the first chair of the program, she developed an annual calendar, step-by-step procedures, goals and deadlines, all contributing to the sustainability of the project for those who followed in her footsteps.

A recipient of the Illinois Library Association’s Davis Cup Award, Farrugia has devoted her professional life to youth services librarianship and storytelling. She has been a storyteller at the Illinois State Fair, past president of the Lincoln Story League, coordinated twenty trips to the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee, and received the National Storytelling Network Oracle Award for the North Central Region in 2003.  Currently youth services manager at the St. Charles Public Library District, she has also worked for the Glen Ellyn and Woodridge Public Libraries.

Inducted Monday, 30 September 2013


Sally Decker Smith

“With every new experience, I always try to learn enough to help other people.” That statement from Sally Decker Smith exemplifies her long career serving as a trusted mentor to innumerable colleagues.  When Northern Illinois University presented her with a library degree, they presented an inspirational role model to the library world.  An active member of the Illinois Library Association, serving on numerous committees and as a mentor to new librarians, Smith reviews resumes at conferences, offering constructive criticism and a sincere ear. She willingly shares her expertise with everyone from new librarians and new trustees to new managers and first-time public speakers.  She embodies the notion that she succeeds only when helping others to succeed.

A former staff member at Indian Trails Public Library District, she authored the popular “Sally in Libraryland” column for the ILA Reporter for more than twenty years.  Always entertaining and often thought provoking, her column makes you feel like you received a letter from a personal friend.  Her extraordinary ability to drill down to a core issue, an innate grasp of reality, and a natural flare for humor, draws enthusiastic audiences to her speaking engagements.  To put it simply, she inspires!

Inducted Monday, 30 September 2013



Valerie Wilford

Valerie J. Wilford retired as executive director of the Alliance Library System after a forty-year career improving libraries and librarianship in Illinois.  She was a colleague, instructor, and mentor to hundreds of librarians, noted for her leadership, creativity, and enterprise.  On the state level, she served as ILA President in 1984, was honored as ILA's Librarian of the Year in 1992, and received the Hugh Atkinson Award for contributions to multi-type library cooperation and resource-sharing.  National recognition included ALA's Margaret E. Monroe Award and ASCLA's Leadership Achievement Award for setting new standards in cooperation among all types of libraries.


She spearheaded the first national virtual conference for the American Association of School Libraries (AASL) and developed a FREENET for rural libraries.  Wilford is a member of the American Library Association, the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies, the Illinois Library Association, the American Association of School Librarians, and the Illinois School Library and Media Association.


Wilford has a bachelor's degree in education from Illinois State University and a master's degree in library science from the University of Illinois.  Her studies included post-graduate work at the University of Minnesota, Northwestern University, and Illinois State University.


Inducted Friday, 15 November 2013

Pat Norris

Pat Norris, 1948-2014

Patricia Ann Norris joined the Illinois State Library (ISL) in 1986, originally recruited to revamp its scholarship program for library school students in Illinois.  She served as the associate director in charge of ISL’s Library Development Group and her career was marked by wholehearted dedication to quality continuing education for all library staff.  The Small Public Library Management Institute (SPLMI), which began in 1994, was her concept and set new standards for support and mentoring. In 2002 Norris helped design ISL’s leadership program Synergy, whose graduates occupy positions of leadership throughout the nation.  Her leadership on the development and implementation of the technology skills program ILEAD U (Illinois Libraries Explore, Apply and Discover:  The 21stCentury Technology Tools Institute for Illinois Library Staff), broadened her reach to new audiences. In 2012 she assembled the team that managed the 2013 Public Library Construction Grant Act to award $50 million for public library construction.  She served as the Illinois Coordinator for the White House Conference on Libraries, 1988-1990, guiding over 900 people, including many citizen representatives, through the process of thinking creatively about challenges and directions of the Illinois and national library communities.  She worked in every type of library—public, academic, school, and special—and was a trusted mentor and friend to countless Illinois library staff.

Inducted Friday, 7 February 2014



Nancy Gillfillan
Nancy Gillfillan has dedicated more than 30 years to the Illinois library community. Spending the majority of her career at the Dixon Public Library, her accomplishments include introducing the rural community to library automation and Internet access. She extended her passion for libraries to the greater Illinois community by presenting at a wide variety of conferences and workshops and serving on a variety of committees. Her committee work included serving as President of the University of Illinois Graduate Library School Alumni Association in 2001, a member of the ILA Conference Committee from 1991-1995, a member of the ILA Executive Board from 1997-2000, and as ILA president in 2003.
After Gillfillan's retirement from the Fondulac District Library in 2005, she continued to impact and inspire the library profession by teaching the Administration & Management of Libraries and Information Centers course for seven years at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at University of Illinois.
Inducted Friday, 19 September 2014



Lee A. Logan 

Lee A. Logan has served the Illinois library community since 1974.  As director of consulting and continuing education for the Alliance Library System starting in 2002, he worked closely with its 252 member libraries until the system closed in 2010.  He was a champion to all libraries regardless of size or type.  Logan began his career as a media specialist with the DePue Unit Schools #103, then joined the Alpha Park Public Library District as a public services librarian and later as a trustee.  He worked with the Illinois Valley Library System, which joined three other library systems in 1994-1995 to become the Alliance Library System.  He was president of the Illinois Library Association and co-chaired the ILA Annual Conference four times, as well as chairing ILA’s Legislative Day in Springfield and co-chairing the Illinois delegation to National Library Legislative Day in Washington, D.C.  He received the ALA/ASCLA Leadership Achievement Award (2007), Ray Howser Staff Recognition Award (1992), Robert R. McClarren Legislative Development Award (2004), and the Alliance Library System Staff Award (2009).  Logan has been a mentor for librarians for over twenty-six years, consulting on library law, legislation, governance, personnel and finance.  If the libraries in the Alliance Library System needed help, he was the person to call.

Inducted Friday, 6 February 2015


Hugh C. Atkinson

Hugh C. Atkinson served as director of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign libraries for ten years, from 1976 until his death at age 53 in 1986. During that time, he led efforts in automation and statewide resource sharing and championed library cooperation, becoming a role model for generations to come. His willingness to take risks resulted in major changes in library service.

Prior to coming to Illinois, Atkinson served as director of libraries at Ohio State University and the State University of New York at Buffalo. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago. His entry in the Dictionary of American Library Biography reads in part: “…Atkinson brought an enthusiasm for library automation, a far-seeing appreciation of computer technology’s impact on library service, and a desire to create a system that would bring the benefits of the UIUC library to all the taxpayers of Illinois and bring all the library resources of Illinois to the UIUC community.”

At the time of his untimely death in 1986, the chancellor of the University of Illinois called him “the best university librarian in the country.” Both the American Library Association and the Illinois Library Association have established Hugh C. Atkinson awards in his honor.

Inducted Friday, 24 April 2015