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updated: 2/22/2012 4:41 PM

Cook Memorial board going paperless

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  • Stephen Kershner, director of the Cook Memorial Public Library District

    Stephen Kershner, director of the Cook Memorial Public Library District

  • Video: Paperless meetings promo


The Cook Memorial Public Library District board soon will join the ranks of suburban government agencies holding paperless meetings.

Starting in March, members of the Libertyville-based panel should be able to use the Internet to read the documents that need to be reviewed or approved at their monthly meetings, library Director Stephen Kershner announced during the group's meeting Tuesday night at the Cook Park Library.

More and more boards are going paperless to reduce paper costs and help the environment. Paper packets sometimes contain hundreds of pages, and every trustee gets one.

"Migrating library trustee board meeting documents from paper to electronic will cut costs and improve communications for trustees and administrative staff," Kershner said in an email Wednesday. "Libraries effectively utilize electronic resources, and it makes sense for library board meeting packets to be communicated electronically."

For the Cook Memorial board, the bills, memos and other documents will be accessible through the district's website,

It will be up to the trustees to read the documents ahead of meetings and print the ones they want, Kershner said.

Once paperless, some agencies give trustees laptop or tablet computers so they can read documents digitally at meetings, at home or on the go. That hasn't been proposed for the Cook Memorial board.

Some library-owned laptops may be available for trustees during meetings, however, officials said.

As Kershner explained Tuesday night, the documents will be protected by a password to ensure only the board members or administrators can read them.

But after an inquiry from the audience, Kershner said officials will talk to the district's attorney about making the documents available to anyone.

Under Illinois law, documents included in board packets are public records. Many suburban government agencies -- including boards serving Lake County, the Lake County Forest Preserve District, Mundelein High School, Diamond Lake Elementary District 76 and Lake Zurich Unit District 95 -- post them online for public review before meetings.

Cook Memorial's digital documents will be archived in an Internet-based cloud system, Kershner said.

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