From its modest beginnings in a red brick house in rural Kane County, the Huntley Area Public Library has grown from serving 3,000 to 39,000 patrons in 25 years.
"Huntley was a much different place than it is today," said Leigh Ann Porsch, the library's head of communications. "That shows you how small Huntley was at the time."
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To commemorate its 25 years of service, the Huntley Area Public Library offers "25 Ways To Enjoy The Library."
•Download eBooks for your devices
•Learn a new language with Mango Languages before your trip abroad
•Download music from Freegal to keep
•Search the library catalog, place holds on items, and be notified when they're ready
•Read digital magazines from Zinio
•Take a computer class
•Talk with a job coach on JobNow to update your old resume and brush up on skills
•Check-out a Museum Pass from one of 18 institutions
•Borrow a DVD for a movie night
•Start your family tree today, using the library's online genealogy resources
•Find a great recipe or cookbook
•Hold an impromptu story time at home for the kids with Tumblebooks
•Talk with a live, online tutor with HelpNow, and get un-stuck with your homework
•Use free Wi-Fi and Internet
•Search Local History archives
•Check-out the latest games for the Wii, Wii U, PS3, and Xbox360 for a week
•Use the Library App for Android & Apple devices
•Enjoy a newspaper, a good read, or just get warm by the library's fireplace
•Participate in a Summer or Winter Reading Program for all ages
•Try a Playaway, it's a book and a digital audio player all-in-one!
•Become a Friend of the Library and join other like-minded people that help improve the library as part of the Friends Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization
•Enjoy one of the many library programs for adults, teens & children
•Enjoy Story Times with Miss Jodi & Miss Nora
Source: Huntley Area Public Library
The library will mark its silver anniversary with events each month starting with a fundraiser in February.
The library district was formed on Nov. 7, 1989, after voters approved it 479 to 248.
After fundraising to purchase a building and establish a library board, Huntley's first library opened in 1992 in a small house at the corner of Church Street and Algonquin Road.
"They used that for several years and quickly outgrew that," Porsch said.
In 1997, voters approved borrowing $2.4 million to build the current library at 11000 Ruth Road, north of Main Street. It opened July 27, 1999.
Today, Huntley's population is right around 25,000, but the boundaries of the library district are wider, serving most of Huntley, and also portions of Lake in the Hills and Algonquin.
"We also are out in the more rural areas of Grafton, Coral and Rutland townships," Porsch said. "We cover quite an extensive area -- 55 square miles."
Of the 39,000 residents within the district, 25,470 are library cardholders, she added.
"We've got kind of an interesting split in our demographic ... a lot of younger families with children. We also have Del Webb (Sun City) residents," Porsch said.
The library offers free home delivery service for senior residents who cannot get to the library due to a health condition or lack of transportation. Roughly 20 patrons subscribe to the service.
Porsch said the library board has tried to raise funds to add onto the current 15,000-square-foot building. Two referendum requests in 2005 and 2008 seeking voter approval for borrowing $14.9 million and $10 million, respectively, to expand the library failed.
There is still room for growth on the library's 11.5-acre grounds.
"We do own all the property around us," Porsch said.
The library installed three temporary mobile units attached to the main building in January 2010. They currently house the children's department and program room.
"The mobile units are very well done," Porsch said. "Eventually, we're going to have to replace them. They are only temporary and they are not going last forever."
Next month, the Friends Foundation, which supports the library, will conduct a fundraiser for the children's room. The group will be collecting donations of quarters to purchase a new educational computer.
"We have four right now purchased in 2008 with grant funding. They are getting old," Porsch said.
Events will be held each month emphasizing the 25th anniversary theme.
For this year's summer reading program, the library district will collaborate with Huntley School District 158, the Huntley Park District and the village to host programs and events, Porsch said.
"We're very excited about it," she added.