HUNTLEY – Exponential growth, increased demand, larger facilities and the rise of technology have all underscored the many changes at the Huntley Area Public Library in the past 25 years.
But the community’s support throughout the transformations has been the common denominator, said library spokeswoman Leigh Ann Porsch. Huntley’s small farming community created that support on Nov. 7, 1989, when voters approved a referendum to create the village’s first library district.
Now, 25 years later, library officials have events planned throughout 2014 to celebrate the silver anniversary and thank a community that has kept growing since the historic vote.
“As small as this community was, people wanted a library,” Porsch said. “That’s the reason why we feel so strongly about celebrating it. If you look at how large the library has grown in the last 25 years, it’s truly amazing.”
Since 1989, the Huntley Area Public Library has gone from serving 3,000 residents to 39,000 residents.
The library’s original building, a former house at Algonquin Road and Church Street, served residents from 1992 to 1999, when population growth forced a move to Ruth Road.
The new building at 11000 Ruth Road ushered in a new era for the library. It has served a larger population and housed technological materials and services never before available to residents.
In 2013, the Ruth Road building saw 316,069 visitors, nearly a 258 percent increase from the 88,387 people who visited the library in 2000.
The many visitors who have supported the library in the last 25 years will see a common “25” theme in 2014. The library will announce specialized events for the anniversary each month in its newsletter, website and Facebook and Twitter accounts.
In February, the library’s Friends Foundation will start a 25-cent donation drive that will collect quarters from residents to be used to buy a new educational computer for the children’s area.
Officials also are planning a major summer reading program that will involve officials from the village, Huntley School District 158 and the Huntley Park District. The celebration will culminate in November to honor the community’s continued support.
“Whether it’s locating health information, teaching a child to read or just having a place to read the newspaper or find a good book, the library is a vital resource to the community,” Porsch said.