Cook Memorial Public Library District

Cook Memorial Public Library District
Cook Memorial Public Library District
Established 1921
Access and use
Circulation 1.4 million
Population served 60,000
Other information
Budget $6,000,000
Director Stephen A. Kershner

The Cook Memorial Public Library District (CMPLD) is the public library system that serves six communities in northern Lake County, Illinois: Green Oaks, Indian Creek, Libertyville, Mettawa, parts of Mundelein, and Vernon Hills. There are two library facilities: Cook Park Library in Libertyville and the Aspen Drive Library in Vernon Hills. CMPLD is a member of the "Reaching Across Illinois Library System" ("RAILS").

The Cook Memorial Library building at 413 N. Milwakee Ave., Libertyville, Illinois, a classical revival building from 1921 and perhaps a former building of this library system, is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.



Local library service began in 1909 when the Alpha Club (now the Libertyville Woman’s Club) began a subscription library in Decker and Bond, a Libertyville drugstore. The small collection soon outgrew the few shelves in the drugstore and found a new home in the Libertyville village hall in 1914. Libertyville's most prominent building, the Cook Mansion, was built in 1879 by Ansel Brainerd Cook. The Cook home and property was left to the village of Libertyville for library and park purposes in 1921 and opened to the public under the name of Cook Memorial Library in November of that year. The first head librarian, Blanche Mitchell, lived in one of the upstairs rooms of the Cook home with her husband.

The Libertyville Township Library Board was organized in 1924 to operate Cook Memorial Library, and library service continued to be offered to the community from the Cook home building. As the library’s collection expanded to meet the demands of the growing community, the Children’s Department was moved offsite and the collection became more fragmented.

In 1968 a new brick building was built, bringing the collection back together in one facility. The township library board was dissolved in 1973 with the formation of the Cook Memorial Public Library District. Shortly thereafter, parts of northern Vernon Township were annexed into the library district. In 1974 an automated circulation system was installed. In 1984 the basement was expanded by 5,000 square feet (460 m2), increasing the size of the library to 33,000 square feet (3,100 m2). The expanded basement housed the children’s department, office space and a public meeting room. Public internet stations were installed in 1995.

Adequate space continued to be an issue as the CMPLD provided library service to an ever expanding population. By 1996, the library district’s population was over 47,000 and its annual circulation was over one million items. Three unsuccessful referendums left the southern part of the library district underserved. In 2002, serving a population of over 58,000, CMPLD entered into an agreement with the village of Vernon Hills to rent space in the lower level of their village hall on Evergreen Drive in Vernon Hills. The Evergreen Interim Library, 2,800 square feet (260 m2), opened on January 13, 2003.

To help alleviate a continued lack of adequate space, in 2007 the CMPLD board adopted an expansion proposal calling for the addition of 30,000 square feet (2,800 m2) to the district's facilities. The $14 million project calls for the construction of a 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) library on Aspen Drive in Vernon Hills, and adding about 11,000 square feet (1,000 m2) and renovating the existing Cook Park library. About $7 million will be spent on each project. Funds from the annual operating budget are expected to service the $14 million of debt certificates over 20 years.

The CMPLD Board selected Gilfillan Callahan Nelson as the architects for both the new Aspen Drive library in Vernon Hills and the Cook Park site in Libertyville. Plans were drawn up for a 11,200-square-foot (1,040 m2) addition to the Cook Park site and a 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) building to be constructed on Aspen Drive in Vernon Hills. Both of the Village Boards eventually approved the plans and construction contracts were awarded. While the Cook Park site was being remodeled, a temporary library location was established, in order to continue services and programming.

The new Aspen Drive Library building opened on July 10, 2010. The remodeled Cook Park Library reopened on January 8, 2011.

Library Directors

Verna E. Jarrett June 1921 – December 1922

Blanche A. Mitchell January 1923 – October 1951

Catherine Littler 1951 – March 1966

William Sannwald 1966–1968

Frederick Byergo September 1968 – April 2007

Dan Armstrong April 2007 – February 2010

Mary Ellen Stembal (Acting Director) February 2010 – September 2010

Stephen A. Kershner September 2010 - present

Current services

Some of the free programming the CMPLD offers to its patrons includes: Genealogy Networking Group and Genealogy After-Hours, The Morning and Evening Book Discussions, Book Talking for English Language Learners, Children's Reading Groups, Summer Reading Programs for children and adults, 'Tween Get Togethers, Teen Programming, etc.

CMPLD offers free lectures covering a variety of topics. Past lectures include: Career Coaching (a series allowing participants to speak with a career coach), Get Your Kicks on Route 66 (a discussion about the history of Route 66), An Evening with Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln (a historical enactment of the life of the Lincolns), and a variety of beginning computer classes.

A Bookmobile offering numerous library items makes regular stops in neighborhoods and daycare centers throughout the District.

The CMPLD provides patrons with access to a variety of digital resources, including 74 reference databases that contain reliable, accurate, and detailed information on topics such as medicine, current events, investments, and genealogy. Most of these databases are also available for use at home or other remote locations, with a CMPLD library card. Other online resources include email newsletters, RSS Feeds, digital audiobooks and video.


Hunt, Marlene, "The Cook Mansion: Libertyville's downtown jewel becomes village's library," Libertyville Review (IL) - Thursday, October 4, 2007

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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