After 36 years, Lentine to retire from Lake Villa District Library
After 36 years, Lake Villa District Library Director Andy Lentine will be turning the page on a career that began with a part-time job.
With staff and patrons settling in to a new $18 million facility not far from the library's longtime home on Grand Avenue and Deep Lake Road, Lentine has decided to end her long tenure on a high note and will retire in early 2020.
"Our vision has come true," she said of the new building at 140 N. Munn Road in Lindenhurst. "People use every space in this library -- every little nook and cranny is full."
Lentine was born and raised in Lake Villa and has a love of numbers. On Jan. 2, 1984, she began working for the library part time as a bookkeeper. To perform that task, she became the first staff member to get a computer.
Lentine started full time at the library in 1991, worked her way through the system and was appointed director in November 2013.
Milestones along the way included switching from paper to an electronic card catalog, installing computers to give patrons access to the internet, converting the former director's office into collaborative meeting area, and expanding the former library building, now 39 years old and up for sale.
"Her experience and dedication were unmatched, and as much as we hate to see her go, we wish her well," said library board President Tony Gundrum.
The library has a staff of 60 serving about 40,000 residents in Lake Villa and Lindenhurst and parts of Round Lake Heights, Round Lake Beach and Antioch.
"One of the highlights clearly is the staff and working with the (library) board and having the ability to be progressive in an environment that's available to everyone in the community," Lentine said.
Planning for the new facility, which opened in early August, began in 2013. In 2016, the library board approved the purchase of 29 acres along Munn Road with frontage on Crooked Lake as the new location.
As director, Lentine oversaw the construction and selection of the interior design elements of the new library, which is more than twice the size of the old one.
"We knew we would always have to be progressive and expand our service and have space available," she said.
Does she miss the building where she worked so long?
"It was easy for me to leave there because I was so excited for this building," she said. "I knew it would be a showstopper."
The board has contracted with the Downers Grove firm HR Source to begin the search for a new director, which is hoped to be complete in early spring. Lentine said she will work part time until her replacement is selected.
"I've loved every minute of it," she said of her career. "I really have."