Libertyville library to honor donor posthumously

Posted4/12/2012 11:25 AM

A lifelong Libertyville resident, Margaret Earnshaw was a proud patron of the Cook Memorial Public Library District.

"I saw her there many times," Libertyville Mayor Terry Weppler said.

When Earnshaw died in February 2011, the 70-year-old retired state worker left the library a significant sum of money as part of a trust. The exact sum hasn't been determined yet, but it's expected to be more than $100,000, said Weppler, who Earnshaw had hired to oversee the trust.

"She wanted to give back to the community," he said.

It's the second-largest financial donation the library district has ever received, officials said. In 2003, a family donated $150,000 in cash and stock so the district could purchase a new bookmobile.

"Ms. Earnshaw certainly recognized the many years of fine service she received from (the) library staff and appreciated having a local institution such as the public library to contribute to the quality of her life and the whole community," Cook Memorial Director Stephen Kershner said in an email.

Library board President Bonnie Quirke said she was pleasantly shocked by the gift.

"I think it's absolutely wonderful that someone is so culturally minded that they would remember a library with a bequest," Quirke said. "It's unique in this day and age."

To honor Earnshaw, library district officials will unveil a painted portrait of her Monday at the Cook Park Library, 413 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville. The portrait presentation is planned for 6 p.m. in the lobby.

The oil painting was commissioned as part of Earnshaw's trust and was a stipulation of the gift, Weppler said. Painted from photographs by Grayslake artist Leisa Shannon Corbett, the portrait depicts Earnshaw with her four beloved dogs.

"She called them her girls," said Weppler, who met Earnshaw while they were walking their dogs.

As a stipulation of the trust, the money must be spent at the Cook Park Library. The district has a second library on Aspen Drive in Vernon Hills.

Earnshaw didn't have any children and her siblings are dead, too. She saw the gift to the library as a way people could remember the Earnshaw family, Weppler said.

"I think Marge would be very happy with it," Weppler said. "This is what she wanted."

Library trustees will discuss possible uses for the donation at their meeting Monday. That's scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the Cook Park Library.

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