I’m back from Chicago with two more interviews under my belt. It’s lovely to see that Illinois really seems to value their libraries — or at the very least, the communities value their libraries. Coming from Florida, a state where the Governor wanted to dismantle the state library and sell it off to a university, it is refreshing to see such enthusiasm and support for libraries. The northern suburbs of Chicago have an excellent consortium that helps the member libraries keep up with changes in technology and service provision, and offers lots of continuing education programs for librarians. I know you folks from other states may be accustomed to libraries like the ones I’ve visited in the Chicagoland area, but I, for one, am impressed. I’m sure the librarian giving me a tour was amused by my exclamations of amazement every time I walked into another part of the library. For me, it really takes me back to my childhood, where the library truly held a special place in the community and was a place I loved to visit for more than just the books held within its walls. It was not just a place to take out books and leave. It was a place we wanted to be at.

I’m now two weeks away from moving day, and, after this visit to Chicago, I am really looking forward to living in a place where people recognize how special libraries really are.