Vernon Hills woman appointed to Cook Memorial library board
A Vernon Hills resident will be the newest member of the Cook Memorial Public Library District board.
Laura Valenziano was appointed to fill an open seat on the Libertyville-based panel Tuesday night. She'll be sworn in at the Aug. 18 meeting.
The post opened in June when ex-board President Bonnie Quirke resigned following public outcry over homophobic and racially inflammatory comments she'd made during a speech and on social media during her tenure. Longtime board member Wendy Vieth succeeded Quirke as president a week later.
Valenziano said she feels it's a library board member's duty to be "a powerful advocate" for the library.
"It is a position of immense trust, as our libraries are the hearts of our communities, a safe haven for our children, and a nonjudgmental resource for our senior citizens," she said. "Libraries are no longer just repositories of information. We are ... places of cooperative education, and our culture and services must reflect the diversity of the communities that we serve."
Valenziano said she's a regular patron of both the Cook Par Library in Libertyville and the Aspen Drive Library in Vernon Hills.
"(I) have enjoyed many of the services offered both pre-COVID, and online in this current COVID world," she said.
Trustees interviewed 18 applicants over three nights before selecting Valenziano.
Trustee Karen Singer was impressed with the applicants but called Valenziano "a dynamo."
Trustee Phyllis Dobbs said Valenziano stood out because she has young children and once worked as a library page, among other factors.
Another plus was her Vernon Hills address -- something she has in common only with Singer. The district includes Libertyville, Vernon Hills, Green Oaks, Mettawa, Indian Creek, a portion of Mundelein and some unincorporated areas, but most trustees live in Libertyville.
"We just wanted to have wider geographical representation," Dobbs said. "We all represent the whole district, but ... it brings a different viewpoint when someone lives in a different area."
Valenziano, who works for Walgreens Boots Alliance in Deerfield, will serve until the spring 2021 election, at which time she can run for office.