Donors are encouraged to give blood this week at a Community Blood Drive at Vernon Area Public Library on Thursday, September 21, to help address a dangerous supply shortage in Illinois.
Earlier this week, Versiti Blood Center of Illinois issued an emergency appeal for blood donations. The organization, which supplies more than 85 hospitals in the area, currently has less than a one-day supply on the shelves. A shortage means medical resources are unavailable for both routine procedures and unexpected crises.
“This is the lowest our blood inventory has been in over a year, which could mean that blood is not available when it’s needed the most,” said Dr. Dan Waxman, vice president of transfusion medicine and senior medical director at Versiti.
A Community Blood Drive will take place from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Vernon Area Public Library, 300 Olde Half Day Road, Lincolnshire. Appointments are recommended; walk-ins are welcome. Sign up online.
All blood types are needed, with types O-positive and O-negative most in demand. O-positive is the most common blood type, while O-negative blood is the universal type that can be received safely by all patients in emergencies when the blood type is unknown.
Donors must be at least 17 years old (or 16 with parental consent), weigh at least 110 lbs., and be in generally good health. Most prescription medicines are acceptable.
The drive is presented in partnership with Buffalo Grove Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce and Village of Lincolnshire.
Illinois Secretary of State / State Librarian Alexi Giannoulias will discuss the freedom to read with a panel of experts on Zoom on Monday, October 2, at 7:00 p.m. CDT. The event is free and open to all. Signup is required; visit bit.ly/IllinoisF2R.
Giannoulias took office in January 2023, the start of what has been a challenging year for libraries. Across the country, school and public libraries have seen a dramatic rise in the number of requests to remove books from their shelves or restrict public access.
In 2022, the American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) documented 1,269 demands to censor library books and resources — the highest number of attempted book bans since they began compiling data about censorship more than 20 years ago. Trends in 2023 suggest a new record will be set this year.
The vast majority of challenged works tell the stories of Black or LGBTQ people or are by authors in those communities.
Giannoulias will be joined in conversation by the Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS) Executive Director Monica Harris and two Illinois authors whose books have been challenged: Jasmine Warga and Jarrett Dapier. Journalist Heidi Stevens will moderate the discussion.
The panelists will examine the current state of book challenges, the implications of censorship on communities, Illinois’ legislative response, and share how viewers can effectively support intellectual freedom.
The webinar is coordinated by Vernon Area Public Library in Lincolnshire. Approximately 75 public libraries across the state have signed on as partners and are promoting the webinar to their patrons.
“Access to materials is the heart of library service. We are so proud to host these panelists who defend that access every day,” said Vernon Area librarian Ashley Johnson. "And it's exciting to have so many libraries across the state come together for this event."
The webinar is offered as part of Banned Books Week, an annual national celebration of the freedom to read. The observance also highlights the value of access and draws attention to the harms of censorship.
About the Panelists
ALEXI GIANNOULIAS was sworn into office as Illinois’ 38th Secretary of State in January 2023. As State Librarian, Giannoulias is dedicated to fighting against book censorship in Illinois libraries. Amid a surge of book bans across the nation, Giannoulias introduced first-in-the-nation legislation designed to support public and school libraries by withholding state grants from libraries that remove books. Giannoulias is a staunch supporter of librarians, who have found themselves on the frontlines of culture wars and have been targeted by extremist groups in Illinois.
MONICA HARRIS believes in the transformative power of libraries. She serves as Executive Director of the Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS), a library support organization that serves more than 1200 libraries of all types across northern and west-central Illinois. She has also worked in administration, youth services and circulation in public libraries in Illinois and Michigan over the last 20 years. In addition to her work in library systems and public libraries, Harris taught as a lecturer in Innovation in Libraries for San Jose State University’s iSchool.
JARRETT DAPIER is a librarian and author of picture books including “Jazz for Lunch!,” “Mr. Watson’s Chickens” and “The Most Haunted House in America,” a 2023 Illinois Reads selection. His debut young adult graphic novel, “Wake Now in the Fire,” is about student resistance to book censorship in Chicago Public Schools. It will be published by Chronicle Books in 2024.
JASMINE WARGA is the New York Times–bestselling and award-winning author of middle grade novels “Other Words For Home,” “The Shape of Thunder” and “A Rover’s Story.” She is also the author of a young adult novel, “My Heart and Other Black Holes,” which has been translated into more than 20 languages. Warga teaches in the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Moderator HEIDI STEVENS is a Chicago-based writer and the Director of External Affairs for the University of Chicago’s TMW Center for Early Learning + Public Health, which works to provide parents, caregivers and communities the knowledge and tools to optimize foundational brain development in all children. Prior to joining University of Chicago, Stevens worked at the Chicago Tribune for 23 years, where she wrote a daily column called “Balancing Act.” She was awarded the Anne Keegan Award for Distinguished Journalism. Stevens maintains a nationally syndicated column once a week, works as a fellowship coach for the OpEd Project and serves on the Family Action Network board of directors.
About Banned Books Week
Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and highlighting the value of free and open access to information. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship.
Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas.
The upcoming Banned Books Week will be observed October 1–7, 2023.
Vernon Area Public Library is among the more than 200 Illinois libraries that will offer an online event with Stephen Graham Jones, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow and New York Times bestselling author. Stephen Graham Jones will discuss scary stories, horror and other topics in a conversation with horror expert Becky Spratford.
“Chills & Thrills with Stephen Graham Jones” will take place on Zoom on Wednesday, October 4, at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Advance signup is required. Sign up online or by calling 224-543-1485.
Stephen Graham Jones is author of more than 30 novels, collections, novellas and comic books. His recent release Don’t Fear the Reaper is the sequel to his Bram Stoker Award–winning novel My Heart Is a Chainsaw.
Jones is the recipient of numerous awards, including four Bram Stoker Awards, three Shirley Jackson Awards, six This is Horror Awards, the LA Times Ray Bradbury Prize, the Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award, the Independent Publishers Award for Multicultural Fiction, the Alex and RUSA awards from the American Library Association, and the 2023 American Indian Festival of Words Writers Award. He was an NEA Fellow. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.
Joining Jones in conversation is Illinois librarian and readers advisory expert Becky Spratford. Spratford trains library staff worldwide on how to match books with readers. She also runs the critically acclaimed blog “RA for All.” A devout horror fan, Spratford writes a horror review column for Library Journal, is the author of “The Reader’s Advisory Guide to Horror,” and is a member of the Horror Writers Association.
The event is being offered by more than 200 libraries across Illinois through a statewide collaboration, “Illinois Libraries Present” (ILP). This is the third season of programming offered by ILP.
ILP is funded in part by a grant awarded by the Illinois State Library, a department of the Office of Secretary of State, using funds provided by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).
Other upcoming speakers in the ILP series include Netflix “Bake Squad” star Maya-Camille Broussard in November and psychotherapist and author Lori Gottlieb in December. Find details and information on the calendar of events at VAPLD.info/calendar.
At approximately 5:30 pm on Tuesday, August 29, the library received a bomb threat via the internet. This threat was different from the one Daniel Wright Junior High received on Monday, August 28, but similar to other threats received recently by libraries across the Chicagoland region.
Staff responded quickly and calmly to clear the building and notify the police. Lincolnshire Police Department conducted a thorough check of the buildings and grounds. They did not find anything suspicious and gave staff the all-clear to return.
As a precaution, we kept the library closed for the rest of the day. We reopened for business as usual on Wednesday morning.
The past two weeks have been challenging, both for our local community and the community of public libraries in our area. Since August 17, more than a half-dozen libraries in Lake and Cook counties have received bomb threats, some more than once. The day before the threat at our library, there was a threat at a local school.
We are grateful that none of these threats to date have been credible and that no harm has come to pass. But they are upsetting and disruptive for everyone in our community.
We are grateful for the professionalism of our staff, who handled the situation with grace, and for the members of our Library Board who reached out to check on everyone’s well being and offer support.
We are grateful to the Village of Lincolnshire police and administration who helped secure the situation and communicate to residents.
Finally, we are grateful for you: our friends, neighbors and library visitors, for the support you show us on a regular basis through your comments, emails, and regular patronage. It is a privilege to serve you. We hope to continue doing so without further disruption.
Vernon Area Public Library joins more than 200 other Illinois libraries to kick off Season 3 of Illinois Libraries Present, a collaborative effort featuring virtual events with A-list authors and cultural influencers. The season opens with Colson Whitehead, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, a MacArthur Fellow, Guggenheim Fellow, and recipient of the 2023 National Endowment for the Humanities Medal.
“The Power of Story with Colson Whitehead” will take place via Zoom on Wednesday, September 6, at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public; advance signup is required. Sign up at VAPLD.info/calendar or call 224-543-1485.
Crook Manifesto is Whitehead’s latest release and the second book in the Harlem trilogy. In it, a furniture store owner and ex-grifter leaves the straight and narrow path when he needs Jackson 5 tickets for his daughter in 1971 Manhattan. Kirkus Reviews calls it an “accomplished, streamlined, and darkly funny comedy of manners.”
Joining Whitehead in conversation is award-winning author Tochi Onyebuchi, whose books include Goliath, Riot Baby, the Beasts Made of Night series, the War Girls series, and (S)kinfolk.
Other speakers in the Illinois Libraries Present series this fall include National Endowment for the Arts Fellow Stephen Graham Jones and Netflix “Bake Squad” star Maya-Camille Broussard.
“Libraries are for everyone” is the unofficial motto of the Vernon Area Public Library District, and that includes residents who are unable to visit the library in person due to illness, disability or mobility challenges.
“If you can’t come to us, we will come to you,” explained Latha Manickavasagam, Vernon Area Library Senior Services Coordinator.
This service is free and available to anyone living in the Vernon Area library district who has a mobility issue, regardless of whether they live in a retirement center, assisted living facility or private residence.
Thirteen senior and assisted living centers are located within the library’s service area, which includes all of Lincolnshire, large portions of Long Grove and Buffalo Grove, and portions of surrounding communities including Vernon Hills.
When signing up, the person tells the library what sorts of things they would like to get from the library: books, movies, magazines or music. They share past favorites so library staff have a sense of their reading or viewing preferences.
Then library staff select items from the shelves and hand-deliver them. As library staff get to know each resident, selections become more personal. “It’s like having a good friend pick things out for you,” said Janice Kellman, Vernon Area Library’s Head of Community Engagement.
Library staff visit each one every three weeks, going room-to-room to deliver library materials and good cheer. Every so often, deliveries include a little something extra: just-for-fun word games or other puzzles, or craft supplies and instructions.
Currently, 140 local residents receive library materials this way.
Library staff also maintain a “mini library” at each of the senior centers. They stock it with books that have been withdrawn from the shelves, often extra copies of recent sellers that are no longer needed. “This ensures that withdrawn books are effectively repurposed and put back into the community. It is especially beneficial for slow readers who prefer to have access to reading materials without having to request them every time, allowing them to enjoy reading at their own pace,” said Manickavasagam.
To sign up, call 224-543-1406, email senior@VAPLD.info, or fill out the form at VAPLD.info/delivery.
Illinois Libraries Present is the recipient of the Illinois Library Association’s 2023 Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award for Interlibrary Cooperation, which is awarded annually in recognition of exceptional resource-sharing initiatives that benefit library users in Illinois.
Illinois Libraries Present (ILP) is a collaboration among Illinois public libraries that presents high-interest online presentations with A-list authors and other notable public figures. Guest speakers have included authors Mary Roach and Jenny Lawson, New York Times puzzle editor Will Shortz, Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin, and Olympic medalist Kristi Yamaguchi and hairstylist/TV personality Jonathan Van Ness.
The ILP initiative began in 2021 to build on lessons learned during the pandemic, including the benefits of resource sharing. Vernon Area Public Library has been a member since its inception.
By bringing together public library resources, ILP offers access to presenters that would otherwise be difficult for any individual library to offer. More than 200 Illinois public libraries participate.
Steering committee member Alexandra Skinner noted, “ILP strives to affirm the role of libraries post-pandemic as vibrant centers of humanities learning, conversation and connection. ILP does not just elevate one library, but a community of Illinois libraries.”
The fall speaker lineup includes Pulitzer Prize–winning author Colson Whitehead, National Endowment for the Arts Fellow Stephen Graham Jones, and Netflix “Bake Squad” star Maya-Camille Broussard. Find details and information on the Vernon Area Public Library calendar of events at VAPLD.info/calendar.
Fresh air, a cool breeze in the shade, an educational play area for the kids, the sound of birds and free high-speed Wi-Fi — that sounds pretty good, doesn’t
it? Let’s add “no entry fee” and “no obligation to purchase anything.” Where is this wonderful place? The newly improved outdoor public space at your local
Like many libraries across the world, we have seen a surge of interest in outdoor public space for gathering and learning in recent years.
That’s why, this summer, we are upgrading the space patrons have come to know as the Annex Lawn. A fanciful chalkboard wall and renovated community garden will join the picnic tables, shade sails and high-speed Wi-Fi that were installed over the past two years. The upgraded area will be called the “Library Learning Garden.”
“The Library Learning Garden is a great community resource and an easy destination for anyone looking for outdoor space,” said library director Anne Rasmussen.
The area will open this summer for self-guided use and play during daylight hours, seven days a week. Occasionally, the space will be reserved for a
specific library program, such as an outdoor concert or storytime — or the new Family Fridays series.
The community vegetable garden at the library is also getting a full refresh. Upgrades include accessible pathways and raised garden beds.
It was first installed as part of the library’s 2013 summer reading program, which had the theme “Dig Into Reading” that year. Since then, volunteers have grown, weeded, watered and harvested more than 2000 pounds of fresh tomatoes, zucchini, peppers and beans for the customers of the local food pantry.
“The garden provides such a variety of benefits,” said program coordinator Roz Topolski. “It’s a place to learn a hobby or learn how food is produced. It’s a place to spend quality time, individually or as a group. It’s an opportunity for people to give back to their community. Most importantly, it reduces food insecurity in our community by providing access to fresh vegetables at
our local food pantry.”
As part of its mission to support families, Vernon Area Public Library invites new and expecting parents to two events in April:
Raising a Baby: Spark Talks on Thursday, April 13, is an online, at-home evening for packed with fast and valuable insight from local experts. Families are invited to log into Zoom for a variety of talks around 5 minutes each. Topics range from delivery to infant sleep, feeding, speech development, navigating daycare, and more.
Bump to Baby Expo on Saturday, April 15, is a great opportunity for new and soon-to-be parents to connect with local services and networking groups.
Attendees can browse booths from more than two dozen local organizations and vendors and pick up information about their products and services. Participating businesses include pediatricians, day care centers, wellness services, and experts in sleep, speech-language pathology, breastfeeding, and more. Baby-wearing experts will be on site for in-person adjustments and the ability to try out different styles. Free samples, giveaways and raffles for baby gear and gift certificates round out the offerings.
While at the library, families are invited to explore the children’s area, meet the library’s early learning team, pick up a schedule of storytimes and sign up for a library card.
Librarian Kelsey Cole-Burns, one of the event coordinators, hopes that attendees not only find useful business information, but also realize their library is “a home away from home where parents can take their babies to learn, play and meet others in the community.”
Bump to Baby Expo takes place at the library at 300 Olde Half Day Road, Lincolnshire. The event is free and open to the public. Signup is not required. Drop in anytime during Expo hours, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Vernon Area Public Library joins libraries across Illinois to host an online event with actor, author and restaurateur Danny Trejo, on Tuesday, April 4, at 7 p.m.
The event is free and open to all; advance signup is required. Sign up online or call 224-543-1485.
Trejo is a prolific actor, well known for his roles in feature films including Desperado, Heat, Con Air, Spy Kids and the From Dusk ‘til Dawn series, and on television series such as “Sons of Anarchy,” “King of the Hill,” “Breaking Bad” and “The Flash,” among others.
Trejo’s road to success in the entertainment industry was hard-earned and atypical. Once a “real-life bad guy,” drug use during his teens led to years in and out of prison in the 1960s on various charges including armed robbery. His memoir, Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood, was released in July 2021.
Today, in addition to acting, the 78-year-old voices a variety of video games, oversees several restaurants and lines of packaged food products, has published a cookbook and craft cocktail book, and serves as an intervention counselor. He is also the proud father of three.