Indian Trails Library director named Librarian of the Year by state association

Brian Shepard, executive director of the Indian Trails Public Library District, is the recipient of the Illinois Library Association (ILA) Librarian of the Year Award. The award recognizes a librarian's distinguished service and leadership in Illinois Libraries. The award is presented and sponsored by Today's Business Solution Inc. (TBS).

"I was stunned to learn I'd been nominated for and won this award," Shepard said, "Throughout my career in libraries, I've admired so many of the librarians who received this award in the past, and it is an honor to be named among them."

During his five-year tenure at Indian Trails Library Shepard improved relationships with community organizations, implemented a summer lunch program, brought in a social worker to assist members, created a paid parental leave policy, secured a grant of $100,000 for the installation of solar panels, and led a $14.3 million building renovation and expansion that was over six years in the making. The renovation and expansion was highlighted in the "Illinois Library Association Reporter" and the "American Libraries Library Design Showcase" publications. The renovation project featured green initiatives, a makerspace and digital media studio, interactive early literacy space, middle school area, study rooms, ESL and training labs, a drive up window, increased parking, and partnership with the local park district for a neighboring park/playground.

Outside the community and library he serves, Shepard is active in the library profession through service and mentoring. He co-chaired the rewriting of Serving Our Public: Standards for Illinois Public Libraries, a valuable resource for all public libraries. He also served on the steering committee of and mentored library staff through Elevate, the Illinois Libraries Leadership Program. He has spoken at numerous events, including the Illinois Library Association conference and is the current ILA Board Treasurer, co-host of an ILA Legislative Breakfast, treasurer of the Buffalo Grove Rotary Club and was previously on the ILA Policy Committee member.

Shepard started his career as a shelver at Arlington Heights Memorial Library while a student at Hersey High School. He has a bachelor's degree in computer and information science from Roosevelt University and earned his masters degree in library and information science at the University of Illinois. He and his family reside in Arlington Heights.

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