"When I reflect on this past year, I see thousands of smiling faces, programs busting at the seams, and packed study rooms. I hear lots of laughter and applause. In so many ways, our organization experienced a record year, as you'll see in this report, and I cannot help but well up with pride for our amazing staff and thank them for making this year better than ever."

"As I look forward to the year to come, I’m excited to say that we are already at work making the Barrington Area Library even better."

"Given the groundswell of enthusiasm for our outdoor programs and space, we have begun work on a five-year Outdoor Landscape Master Plan with Hitchcock Design Group to envision how the Library can best utilize our multi-acre property in the years to come."

"We will also soon begin work on a brand new MakerLab, new and renewed play elements, including a Baby Garden, in our Youth Services department, and introducing space for an expanded and accessible Library of Things."

"Of course, none of this would be possible without our wonderful community of supporters! If you're a new cardholder - welcome. We're so glad you're here. If you're a long-time cardholder, thank you for your continued support. Let's keep working together to make great things happen here at the Library."



FY 2022-2023

What makes a Library better than ever? Let's start with the numbers. We're proud that, once again, our circulation numbers have increased dramatically in almost every category this year, with an overall increase of about 18.5%. BALibrary has been engaged in a multi-year project to build up our circulation of print materials, and our efforts have proven to be very successful! If you've noticed new book displays and improved book browsing throughout the Library, those are just some of the approaches we are undertaking to connect our community of readers with a world of books. More than 25,000 area residents have BALibrary cards - invite your neighbors and friends to begin the registration process online or in person - we're open seven days a week.


  • BOOKS: 405,037 (+25% from previous year)
  • DVDS: 136,258 (+30%)
  • CDS: 15,127 (No change)
  • PRINT MAGAZINES: 5,316 (-5%)
  • EQUIPMENT & KITS: 2,385 (+56%)
  • E-BOOKS: 114,138 (+3%)
  • E-AUDIOBOOKS: 61,044 (+19%)
  • DIGITAL MAGAZINES: 40,082 (-9.5%)
  • STREAMING VIDEO: 9,142 (+10%)
  • DIGITAL MUSIC: 34,592 (-12.5%)
  • TOTAL: 933,297 (+18.5% overall increase from previous year)






14,430 Reference Questions Answered

496 One-On-One Assistance/Training Sessions: up more than 50% from last year!

2,244 items loaned out through Interlibrary Loan

4,201 items borrowed through Interlibrary Loan

8,845 public computer sessions

44,907 wi-fi (wireless Internet) sessions

How do you like to get your Barrington Area reads? This year, our Pick-Up Lockers were our most popular option, followed by Borrow By Mail, which saw an increase of more than 50% from last year. More good news: we're adding 24/7 locker access at the Main Library in 2024! Customers are still making good use of unique offerings like Parking Lot Pick-Up, Homebound Delivery, and Browsing Bundles, too.


Use of our larger meeting rooms has been steadily increasing back to pre-pandemic levels, and use of our smaller study rooms has reached new heights in the past year.

667 large group community meetings were held this year, a 170% increase from the previous year.

9,199 small room reservations were made, a 90% increase from the previous year. This includes usage of the three new Cubicles (small group rooms) added to the second floor in October of 2022 - a great repurposing of available space!


Did you see us in Quintessential Barrington at the start of 2023? We are so grateful to Editor Lisa Stamos and her team for this insightful feature article, accompanied by terrific photography. From the Seed Library to the MakerLab, many BALibrary services saw an increase in interest after area residents checked us out in QB.


Lifelong learner and library lover

Georgianne Harms is a 25 year resident of Barrington who lives within walking distance of the Library. She loves libraries and always has, whether in large cities like Austin, TX, and San Francisco, or right here at home in Barrington. She considers herself an active supporter of the library, using many of its services and facilities on a regular basis, while also informing other community residents about everything the library has to offer. “I even socialize here – quietly – by using the study rooms for meetings and conversations.”

Georgianne has made use of her Barrington Area Library card through every chapter of life, from story times to retirement planning workshops. She enjoys the learning and enrichment opportunities offered here, from birding presentations to outdoor yoga in the garden to author talks. She regularly participates in our LIT book club and also in the Barrington Writers’ Workshop, which meets at the Library.

Georgianne made a name for herself in print and television journalism, and then became an innovative force in bilingual/ESL education in Texas, California, and Illinois. Now retired from her work as an educator, this voracious reader is finding support at the Library as she sets out on a new adventure: writing her first book. “Although I’ve been writing for my entire life, I am still new to being an author. I have questions constantly! I come to the Library staff and they are always a wonderful resource for me, whether I need help researching small publishers and university presses, or choosing the next selection for one of my book groups, or booking a room where I can ask beta readers to critique my writing.”

We were delighted that Georgianne took the time to share her story with us, knowing it would encourage other community members to bring the Library along with them for every part of the journey of life. We can't wait to see what Georgianne accomplishes next, and we'll be there to offer our help and support.


In December 2022, the Library received great news: the Barrington Area Library had once again been recognized with a coveted four star ranking by Library Journal in its annual Star Libraries report. This places BALibrary in the top 4-5% of libraries nationwide.

The 2022 report is based on data received from 5,359 libraries in the United States for the fiscal year 2019-2020. 258 libraries received three, four, or five star rankings. The Barrington Area Library also received a four star ranking in 2019 and 2021.

Rankings are based on eight major service measures – physical material circulation, electronic circulation, number of visits, program attendance, public computer users, wifi sessions, e-resource information retrievals, and website visits – measured per capita. Libraries are also ranked by their annual operating budgets, and BALibrary is the highest ranked four star library in its budget category.

We thank our generous, supportive community for always encouraging us to reach for the highest standards in library service.



In-person programming at BALibrary hasn't just rebounded from the pandemic, it has soared to new heights! Record-breaking attendance and participation have inspired our staff, and we can't wait to invite you for more of these wonderful, community-building experiences. (Creator Fair, pictured above, had 375 guests.)

We're also increasing our presence outside the building, at schools, assisted living communities, and events sponsored by other local organizations, so when you see us out and about, be sure to say hello and find out what's new and exciting at BALibrary!


Our first in-person Fandom Fest since 2019 was an unparalleled success, with 686 attendees filling the Library with bursts of laughter, excitement, and creativity.

Crafting in the Dragon's Lair!

"I learned to love comics as a kid in the 1970s at my local public library. It was an honor to pay it forward at BALibrary’s Fandom Fest. I was inspired, and I know a new generation of kids was, too." Comics Artist and Author Gene Ha (who has participated in every one of our Fandom Fests, and who sketched delightful portraits of many of our attendees, including those you see below).

Fandom Fest is fun, FREE, and full of surprises for every kind of pop culture fan!


Libraries are all about unique learning experiences, so when the Village of Barrington's Public Works department approached us about co-hosting a Touch A Truck event at the Library, we were all in! And so was our community: 883 smiling faces joined us on a beautiful spring morning to see, climb on, and toot the horns of the huge fleet of Public Works vehicles.

We want to offer our special thanks to Fred Braun, Director of Public Works, and the entire Public Works staff, for bringing this outstanding event to the Library. The Public Works team was so welcoming and friendly to the many, MANY children on site that day, providing child-sized hard hats, teaching them about the vehicles being displayed, and even reading some books during story time!

"The Barrington Public Work Department strongly believes that a great community requires strong interaction between the various government agencies within the community. The Touch A Truck event at the Barrington Area Library was a great example of how two separate agencies can come together to bring so much joy to the people in the community which they serve." Fred Braun, Village of Barrington Director of Public Works


The first day of Summer Reading is always bustling, especially in the Youth Services department. This year's Kick-Off Party was on Thursday, June 1, and there was rain in the forecast, but we're happy to say there was only a flood of attendees, and a deluge of giggles and bubbles. 747 guests joined us on the back lawn to register for Summer Reading, enjoy popcorn, play outdoor games, and get caught up with friends and neighbors as the school year ended. Throughout the summer, families also enjoyed a live outdoor concert series, featuring performers like Tunes With Tim and Wendy & DB, with each show drawing hundreds of guests singing and dancing out on the lawn.

2,359 people participated in Summer Reading this year, reading for a combined total of 2,425,197 minutes - that's more than 40,400 hours, or four and a half years of reading!

Pictured here: (front row) John Haniotes, Barrington Bank & Trust; Pat Boquist, Barrington Rotary; Jacqui Pieroni, Barrington Junior Women's Club; Bob Alberding, Barrington Township Supervisor; (back row) Antonietta Simonian, Cuba Cares Food Pantry; Barrington Area Librarians Sam Adams-Lanhan, MaryJo Nitz, and Danielle Golding. Not pictured here, our friends at Barrington 220 Educational Foundation.

We want to thank our very generous sponsors, who make donations to our local food pantries when our community of readers reaches particular goals. This year's sponsors were: Barrington Bank & Trust; Barrington Rotary; Barrington 220 Education Foundation; and the Barrington Junior Women's Club. The generosity of these sponsors and your love of reading resulted in donations of $2,000 to the Barrington Township Food Pantry and Cuba Township Food Pantry.



The Library will undergo several renovation projects in the first half of 2024, including a completely redesigned, greatly expanded MakerLab. The current MakerLab has served our community well for over nine years, but customer demand has outgrown the space.

During an average month, the Lab sees more than 1,100 visitors, and staff provide 60-75 one-on-one sessions and 5-12 group programs. We can't wait for you to experience the new MakerLab, with all the great, state-of-the-art equipment we've always provided, in a comfortable workshop setting that can also be used as a classroom. To inspire your own maker projects, we'd like to introduce you to some of the customers who have truly made magic in the MakerLab.



When Mary Ann O’Rourke was in sixth grade, she received a homework assignment to write a fictional story featuring an inspiring animal. She set her creative wheels in motion to pen the story of Egor the elephant, who heroically saves a burning village by spraying water with his trunk. Story in place, Mary Ann then turned to her in-house (literally!) illustrator: her mother, Jano O’Rourke, who had been a professional artist before marrying and starting a family. “She continued as an art teacher, and was always painting something. She worked in oils, and also pastels and sketches.” Jano’s charming sketches of Egor made the perfect complement to Mary Ann’s story.

Flash-forward a few decades, and Mary Ann is a seasoned public relations professional and an active community volunteer. She has lived in the Barrington area for 27 years, and makes good use of her library card to check out “tons of books.” But she also wondered if the Barrington Area Library could help with a publishing project: new copies of her treasured book about Egor, which she could share with the youngest members of her growing family.

“It was so easy to make an appointment with Library staff. Once that was set up, I met with Michael Campagna, who introduced me to Photoshop. I’m a writer, not an artist, but this gave me a chance to learn what artists do with this software. Mike is patient and encouraging, and gave me the instructions I needed to scan in my original, hand-crafted book, clean up each page using Photoshop, and then print out new copies.

We're here for you, with friendly, helpful service, comfortable spaces, and innovative technology, whether you're an adult wanting to take on a new challenge and preserve an important chapter in your life story, or a sixth grader looking for inspiration with a homework assignment.



"Taking a project from concept to completion is basically a giant puzzle."

Kevin Ekstrom uses our MakerLab tools and his own creativity, design skills, and master craftsmanship, to create absolutely amazing projects for his family's home and as gifts for friends.

Kevin Ekstrom’s education and experience run the gamut from aviation to informatics to video game production. When he moved back to Illinois from California, he realized he now had more room in his life for projects like woodworking. He also found inspiration when his young son arrived to the family household.

Kevin designs all the pieces at home, using software like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Then he uses the Library's MakerLab, primarily the laser cutter, to cut the pieces according to the design files. Back at home, he sands, paints, and assembles the finished designs.

Kevin's friends and family are often treated to beautifully personalized decorative items for their homes, like this sign for a child's room.

The end result is simply spectacular. Kevin began making custom nursery and party décor for his own family, and now he is making similar items for friends and relatives – not as a business endeavor, simply for the joy and the creative challenge.

Sweet home Chicago: another one of Kevin Ekstrom's inspiring original pieces.


“If you want to go next-level, focus on the journey, not the result.”

Paul Hermany leads a Library workshop on 3D modelling using Fusion 360.

A self-described “serial hobbyist,” Paul Hermany discovered 3D printing through the prompting of a friend. With a background in math and computer science, Paul sees his MakerLab projects as a continual learning process, rather than simply a means to an end result. “It’s easy to schedule an appointmentyou don’t have to know the solution at that point. Make the appointment, and then work with Mike, Kat, and Tom to find the answers.”

Key chains Paul Hermany designed and made for a cancer fundraiser.

Paul makes appointments just to tinker, and enjoys the hours of back-and-forth, trial-and-error experimentation. In fact, he thinks the MakerLab should display a "Library of Fails," so everyone can see that it’s about the process, and learning from your mistakes.

Just three of Paul Hermany's inspiring MakerLab-fueled projects: a Catan game board; a "dymaxion globe" (a map projected onto the sides of a regular Icosahedron); and a Sequence game board.

Paul designs and fabricates practical household objects to keep his kids organized, and replacement parts for neighbors in need. But he also creates game boards so elaborately detailed they are works of art and key chains for a cancer fundraiser. He has volunteered at BALibrary events and recently taught a class in 3D modelling using Fusion 360. As Digital Services Manager Mike Campagna said, “The Digital Services staff appreciates being able to learn from customers like Paul.”


We really appreciate it when customers take the time to share their feedback about BALibrary services and experiences on Google and other social media sites.



What makes a great community organization even better? Partnering with other outstanding non-profits, governments, and businesses, to collaborate, share resources, and provide useful and fun programs and events for the community at large. We thank the more than 60 community partners we worked with over the past year for helping to make BALibrary better than ever.

  • Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, Barrington
  • The Anne Frank Center
  • The Arboretum of South Barrington
  • Ascension Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health
  • Bacoa (Barrington Area Council on Aging)
  • Barrington 220 Educational Foundation
  • Barrington 220 School District, Schools, and School Board
  • Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Barrington Area Community Foundation
  • Barrington Area Conservation Trust
  • Barrington Area Council of Governments (BACOG)
  • Barrington Area Development Council
  • Barrington Area Volunteer Connection
  • Barrington Bank & Trust Company
  • Barrington Career Center
  • Barrington Farmers Market
  • Barrington Junior Women’s Club
  • Barrington Park District
  • Barrington Rotary Club
  • Barrington Township Food Pantry
  • Bear Family McDonald's
  • Boy Scouts (several local troops)
  • BStrong Together
  • Center for Nonprofit and NGO Studies, Northern Illinois University
  • Chicago Living Corridors
  • Citizens For Conservation
  • Cook County Forest Preserve District
  • Crabtree Nature Center
  • Cuba Township Food Pantry
  • Daughters of the American Revolution - Signal Hill Chapter
  • Elgin Symphony Orchestra
  • Gail Borden Public Library District
  • The Garlands of Barrington
  • Gerber/Hart Library and Archives
  • Girl Scouts (several local troops)
  • Go Green Barrington
  • Illinois Attorney General’s Office
  • Illinois Humanities Council
  • Illinois Libraries Present
  • Kaleidoscope School of Fine Art
  • Lake County Forest Preserve District
  • Land Conservancy of McHenry County
  • League of Women Voters of the Palatine Area
  • Lucas Law
  • Mindful Waste
  • Morningstar Investment Research Center
  • Neater
  • North Cook County Master Gardeners
  • Quintessential Barrington
  • Regional Transportation Authority
  • Saint Anne School
  • School of Rock Barrington
  • SOUL Harbour Ranch
  • South Barrington Park District
  • TEDx
  • Village of Barrington
  • Village of Barrington – Public Works department
  • Village of Barrington Hills
  • Village of Deer Park
  • Weiss Financial Ratings
  • Willow Recreation Center, Hoffman Estates
Barrington Area Library 505 N. Northwest Hwy, Barrington, IL |