Lake Bluff Library Director will leave for new role in Wisconsin

Lake Bluff Library Director to leave post 7/31

At the June 21 meeting of the Lake Bluff Library Board of Trustees, Eric Bailey announced that he will resign from his position as Library Director effective July 31, 2022.

“This is not a change that I make lightly,” said Bailey in his resignation letter. “I love the Lake Bluff Public Library and the community it serves, and only a rare opportunity could pull me away.” Bailey has accepted the position of Library Director of the Waupaca Area Public Library in his hometown of Waupaca, Wisconsin—the same library Bailey says inspired his lifelong love of libraries and learning.

Bailey joined the Lake Bluff Public Library staff in August of 2005 as the Head of Technical Services. He was initially responsible for cataloging new materials and purchasing Adult Fiction. Bailey earned his Master of Library Science from Dominican University in 2009; in January of 2012, he was promoted to Library Director.

Bailey’s accomplishments at the Library are extensive and have centered on growing the Library’s presence in the community and expanding on traditional library services. In Bailey’s time at the helm, the Library has increased operating hours, expanded card access to students in unincorporated areas, implemented revenue generating services such as passport processing and license plate renewals, eliminated overdue fines, expanded physical and digital collections, and even acquired a book bike. Three of the Library’s busiest years on record occurred under Bailey’s leadership.

Staff development has also been one of Bailey’s priorities. “Eric’s vision of the Library has always been one where all staff members feel empowered to contribute and collaborate,” said Head of Adult Services Martha O’Hara, who has worked with Bailey since he started at the Library. “He has always committed to creating opportunities for staff to learn new skills or take on new responsibilities and that’s allowed us to get some really great people on board.”

Bailey has also been central to the effort to identify and fund improvements to the Library building, an ongoing project that began in 2014 with a space usage study. Bailey’s work in this area has included securing a $100,000 grant from the state of Illinois and the renovation of the Carole S. and Alfred Stroh Reading Room, which will complete construction later this summer.

“As a member of the Board of Trustees and as President of the Board, it has been a pleasure to watch Eric develop into a caring and creative steward of the Library,” said Library Board President Kathy Meierhoff when asked about Bailey’s impact on the Library. “His leadership and dedication to the Library has helped develop a 21st century library for our community.”

The Lake Bluff Public Library Board of Trustees and Library Staff are grateful for Bailey’s 17 years of service to the Lake Bluff community. His enthusiasm, tireless work ethic, and affable demeanor will be missed. The Library Board of Trustees have begun the process of hiring a new Library Director. During the search for the new director, Katie McLain Horner will serve as the Library’s Interim Director. Ms. Horner joined the Library in 2019 as the Head of Circulation and Reference. The Board also invites members of the public to a reception honoring Bailey on Friday, July 29 at 6:15pm in the Library Garden. The Library has also created a virtual guest book for the event.

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