Harwood Heights library plans yearlong 40th-anniversary party
The 40th anniversary planning committee for the Eisenhower Public Library District in Harwood Heights includes Library Director Ron Stoch (from right), Peggy Tomzik, head of library services, Reference Librarian Dan McPhillips and Julie Stam, marketing sp
Updated: February 25, 2013 6:02AM
HARWOOD HEIGHTS — Touring local landmarks or contemplating the cosmos are just a couple of the activities planned for the 40th anniversary of Eisenhower Public Library.
“The theme of the celebration is all about exploring,” said Julie Stam, marketing specialist for the library at 4613 N. Oketo Ave. in Harwood Heights that also serves residents of Norridge.
To help patrons discover the treasures close to home, the library is adding a collection of “Explore!” backpacks that contain all the information one might need to tour local history spots, including cemeteries and bakeries.
The big anniversary parties will be held Friday, March 1, in the library.
“We’ll be mailing out invitations to the gala, a dressy affair,” Stam said.
The evening will feature light refreshments and entertainment.
“At the same time, we’ll have a library birthday party for the kids,” Stam said. “We’re trying to tie everything for the year together.”
One way the library is seeking to bring the community together it through its own version of the “One Book, One Community” program.
In celebration of the 75th anniversary of the airing of Orson Welles’ radio play version of H.G. Well’s, “The War of the Worlds,” the library will make available keepsake copies of the story.
“This is the first time we’ve ever tried the ‘One Book, One Community’ program,” said Ron Stoch, library director. “The best thing about this selection is that is was a radio play, a book and a couple of movies.
The library staff will be recording patrons and members of the community reading passages from ‘The War of the Worlds’ for a video, Stam said.
The books will feature one-of-a-kind cover art by comic book artist Alex Ross.
“This is really a treat,” Stam continued. “Alex is a well-known artist and a big fan of ‘The War of the Worlds.’”
In addition, the library has scheduled a reading of Welles’ play by the SAG/AFTRA Senior Radio Players on Oct. 30, the 75th anniversary of the original radio broadcast.
Looking to the community for assistance, the library will be seeking suggestions for items to include in a time capsule.
Also on the agenda are monthly features.
For Valentine’s Day, the library wants to focus on the timelessness of wedding vows, no matter how styles change.
“We’re asking our patrons to submit their wedding photos online or bring them in where we can scan them while they wait,” Stam said.
Library staff also wants to put together a community timeline that would include not only events of importance to the library’s history but also those events important to the patron.
“We want people to submit events, such as the birth of a child or a marriage,” Stam said. “The community will have the opportunity to make the timeline their own.”
In May, the library is looking to display photos of prom and graduation to show how styles have changed.
More events are planned for the rest of the year, Stam promised.
Changes also are in store for the library’s web site.
The way the library reaches out to its patrons is being revamped during this anniversary year.
“We’re doing a web redesign to make the site more dynamic,” Stam explained. “It’ll be a virtual branch that’s open 24/7.”
The new site will contain book reviews, access to database resources, options to reserve books and to download e-books, she noted.
The redesigned newsletter not only lists programs but also highlights a different service each month.
“We offer services for those who cannot leave their homes and a self-checkout option,” Stam said. “We want to make the library experience as convenient as possible.”
At 40, Eisenhower is a relative youngster in the world of libraries.
“The library is a neighborhood place that serves both Norridge and Harwood Heights,” he said. “This (anniversary celebration) is a great way for us to be able to share that sense of community.”
Choosing “The War of the Worlds” allows residents to experience the story in myriad media, whether it is through reading the book, watching the movies or sitting in on a radio show-type performance in October.
And while some more mature patrons may prefer to stick with the printed page, others embrace new technology as a way to keep in touch with the grandkids, Stoch said.
“The library is more than just books these days,” Stam noted. “We want to make everything accessible, and interesting so that patrons want to come back.”