Arlington Heights library board member named Trustee of the Year by state group

  • Debbie Smart

    Debbie Smart

Updated 7/11/2019 6:04 PM

A longtime Arlington Heights library board member has received the highest distinction for an elected representative from the Illinois Library Association.

The organization this week announced Debbie Smart is the recipient of its Trustee of the Year Award. In awarding Smart with the annual citation, the association pointed to her leadership as former president and treasurer of the library board, on which she's served since 2011.


"Debbie is a constant and vocal supporter of her library, and every library, as the place that brings the community together," officials from the library association said in a news release.

Smart led a strategic planning process and search for a new executive director that culminated with the promotion of 13-year library employee Mike Driskell as new executive director in November 2018.

She also inspired the planning for the library's new "makerspace" building, which is proposed to include high-tech tools like 3-D printers, laser cutters and vinyl cutters. It also will include more traditional tools like sewing, embroidery and quilting machines, as well as a small business incubator space and commercial kitchen.

The village transferred its shuttered 8,000-square-foot teen center building at 112 N. Belmont Ave. to the library this summer for the new facility. An opening is planned for next year after interior upgrades.

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And late last year, Smart helped support the creation of the nonprofit Arlington Heights Memorial Library Foundation as another vehicle to generate revenue for the library outside of property taxes.

She also received a Hearts of Gold award from the village in 2014 for her volunteer service in the community.

Smart, a 28-year Arlington Heights resident, works for Briarwood Management, a property management company that oversees downtown Arlington Heights residential buildings. She was reelected to the library board in 2017 with a term expiring in 2023.

The library award will be presented Oct. 22 during the 2019 Illinois Library Association Annual Conference in Tinley Park. Smart also will be recognized during a Trustee Day luncheon on Oct. 24.

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