Two newcomers to join Cook Memorial library board
The Cook Memorial Public Library District board will see some personnel changes as a result of this week's election.
Voters in the Libertyville-based district chose two newcomers and two incumbents to represent them for the next four years.
Trustees Wendy Vieth and Jim Larson, both of Libertyville, retained their posts. Challengers Jennifer Banek of Green Oaks and Karen Singer of Vernon Hills won seats on the seven-member panel.
Incumbent Nathan Johnson of Vernon Hills lost a re-election bid, placing last in the six-person race. He'd been on the board since 2010.
Fellow incumbent Rob Schuler, a board member since 2015, didn't run again.
Banek, who finished first with 2,078 votes, called her win "quite gratifying." Vieth, a trustee since 2008, placed second with 1,973 votes, according to unofficial results. Larson, a trustee since 2015, was third with 1,893 votes. Singer placed fourth with 1,862 votes.
Gayle Tavares of Vernon Hills was fifth with 1,608 votes, and Johnson followed with 1,561 votes.
The election came at an exciting time for the library district, which includes parts or all of Libertyville, Vernon Hills, Green Oaks, Mettawa, Indian Creek, Mundelein, Lake Forest and neighboring unincorporated areas.
A $6.8 million expansion of the Aspen Drive Library in Vernon Hills is underway. About 15,000 square feet will be added to the building, which is a sister facility to the Cook Park Library in downtown Libertyville.
Half the addition will be at the ground level, and the other half will be a basement that, for now, will be left unfinished and used for storage.
New study rooms, a large conference room, an open area for teens and an enclosed quiet room are among the elements that will be built.
The expansion should be completed in the fall.
Singer is especially excited about joining the board at this time to help oversee the project.
"I really cherish the responsibility," she said.
As she did during the campaign, Banek said replacing the district's 15-year-old bookmobile will be one of her goals. It's a vital service for older residents, young families and other people who may not be able to get to the libraries, she said.
"I think it's really important that we (serve) all of our patrons," Banek said.
Cook Memorial is the busiest library district in Lake County, with an estimated 1.4 million items checked out during the last fiscal year. Its circulation ranks ninth statewide.