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Board Members

Headshot of Karen Bounds
Karen Bounds

President (Public Library Trustee)

 kbounds@board.illinoisheartland.org

Centralia Regional Library District

Comments

When I was a child, it was my good fortune to live a block from our local library. When I was old enough to go to the library on my own, I spent hours on end sprawled on the floor in the history section of the children's area reading everything I could about American history. ... I don't know how often I looked up to see Mrs. Bryant smiling at me from the end of the bookshelf... I worked part-time while in high school and the local college and found myself working with Mrs. Bryant at the library. ... I became a school librarian in 1987, spent the first seven years working at a K-12 facility ... and then moved back to my hometown to be the high school librarian. I retired in 2016.

I was the first president of IHLS in 2011 and represented school libraries. Presently, I am on the Centralia Regional Library District board of trustees and have returned to the IHLS board as a Public Library Trustee.

Headshot of Linda McDonnell
Linda McDonnell

Vice President (Public Library Trustee Representative)

 lmcdonnell@board.illinoisheartland.org

Six Mile Regional Public Library District

Comments

It has been my honor to serve the citizens of Granite City since 2003 as trustee and current president of Six Mile Regional Library District. Our mission is to make a significant difference in the everyday lives of the people in our community by providing programs, services and resources. I am an advocate for public libraries that have made a difference especially in these trying times. 

I was on the board of the Lewis and Clark System that transitioned into IHLS, and it [is] a privilege to serve again.

Headshot of Tammy Krouse
Tammy Krouse

Secretary (School Library Representative)

 tkrouse@board.illinoisheartland.org

Edwards County CCUD #1

Comments

I truly can’t imagine what my life would be life without libraries. Some of my earliest memories are of the Carnegie Library in Robinson, Illinois. I remember how thrilled I was when it relocated just a few blocks from my home and the freedom I felt riding my bike there to pick out new adventures to read. The library was the natural place to go to fulfill volunteer hours for Girl Scouts. Helping with summer reading programs let me know that I wanted to become a teacher. I met my husband in the library while at Lincoln Trail College, and after graduating from SIU we settled in Albion, Illinois. I taught Title I reading and third grade, but in 1994 the position of district librarian became available. Now I am reading stories to the grade school kids of the students I have been able to watch grow up along with my own four children. Times have changed since my first visits to the Carnegie Library, but libraries are leading many of the positive changes.

Headshot of Loretta Broomfield
Loretta Broomfield

(Public Library Representative)

 lbroomfield@board.illinoisheartland.org

Marion Carnegie Library

Comments

Serving in a trustee capacity is new for me but I realize, after 30+ years, I do have some valuable insight and experience to bring to the table. I earned my Masters in Library Science while working at the Shawnee Library System. There, I served in various capacities and had the privilege of working closely with staff from all types of libraries in southern Illinois. I was the manager of the Talking Books Department at Shawnee when the four southern library systems merged to form IHLS in 2011. I became the library director at Sallie Logan Public Library in 2014. I feel librarians have a responsibility to actively participate in the profession outside of the walls of our libraries. Serving on the IHLS board is just one way to contribute, and I am honored to do so.

Headshot of Francis Buckingham
Francis Buckingham

(Public Library Trustee Representative)

 fbuckingham@board.illinoisheartland.org

Case-Halstead Public Library

Comments

 

 I have been a fan of libraries and a patron since I was a child. My mother took me and my sibs to the public library every two weeks: of course, that’s when the books were due! She got her own books of course, as we were a family of readers, and she ended up working for many years at that same library. I have continued my education through the years, mostly with the public library’s help. Now, I can use the resources of many libraries through the wonderful IHLS! I have been a practicing veterinarian for many years, am now retired from that, and am teaching/tutoring biology and life sciences at Southwestern Illinois College. As a board member, I plan to help keep the resources of the IHLS flowing to all of the libraries in our system and continue to serve our patrons.

Headshot of Ann Chandler
Ann Chandler

(Public Library Trustee)

 achandler@board.illinoisheartland.org

Taylorville Public Library

Comments

My career in education began as a school librarian, moved to becoming a reading specialist, principal and ending as a Superintendent of schools, which totaled 38 years in the education field, makes me well qualified to be on the IHLS Board of Directors. Also, I have been on the Taylorville Public Library Board of Trustees for five years and have served as President for three years. I am enthusiastic, passionate, well-versed in the importance of literacy, have great knowledge on how important it is to serve the public, and the critical need of library programs for underserved populations. My latest experience as a Library Trustee has updated my knowledge of the library system and its workings thus giving me the desire to serve as IHLS board member.

Headshot of Jenna Griffith
Jenna Griffith

(School Library Representative)

 jgriffith@board.illinoisheartland.org

Marion CUSD #2

Comments

After growing up in the Northeast I moved to Southern Illinois 26 years ago to be the school library director at Marion High School. I loved libraries from a very young age and, take it as a great privilege to pass that love along to the students I see every day. In addition to my job at MHS, I also am a trustee for the Marion Public Library. I've also serve on several book award committees, including the AISLE Lincoln Award, the State Library Read for A Lifetime award and the YALSA's Alex Award (2020). When I'm not reading, I love spending time in the outdoors hiking or running. I look forward to my time on the Illinois Heartland Board and working to increase the school library presence.

Headshot of Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill

(Academic Library Representative)

 shill@board.illinoisheartland.org

Lake Land

Comments

Sarah followed in her mother's footsteps and became a high school librarian, serving in public schools for fourteen years in southern and central Illinois. Now she's been at Lake Land College Library in Mattoon for nine years, serving as the Director since 2021. Sarah has always been active in professional organizations—in the past she was president of the Illinois School Library Media Association and YALSA, a division of the American Library Association. She is currently volunteering on the Network of Illinois Learning Resources in Community Colleges Board as Reporter, the SHARE Executive Council and eResources Committee, and the RUSA Reading List Council. 

Headshot of Ryan Johnson
Ryan Johnson

(Public Library Representative)

 rjohnson@board.illinoisheartland.org

O'Fallon Public Library

Comments

My first library job was straight out of high school working part-time the local community college. I didn’t know it then, but that opportunity and the mentors I had put me on a path I never could have imagined for myself. Nearly 20 years later, I feel so fortunate for that opportunity and the other ones that came my way thereafter. I often say something along the lines of, "Libraries are no longer about books, we are about people." Often that sentiment is patron-facing, but it is just as important to be "about people" as we coach, lead, and develop staff. As professionals in the field, we have a responsibility not just to the "Now," but to the future. I hope to do my part in inspiring others to do well in this field as so many have inspired me along the way.

Headshot of Kevin Kelsey
Kevin Kelsey

(Public Library Trustee Representative)

 kkelsey@board.illinoisheartland.org

Mahomet Public Library

Comments

Professionally, I am a consultant in healthcare, focusing on project management. I've done this for the last 20 years, overseeing multi-million dollar projects. My education is in Finance and Economics, and I taught Finance at a college in northern Illinois. After that, I went into administration for nonprofits, mostly in fundraising. I ran a small Community Foundation and have also done consulting for other nonprofits. I’ve been on the Mahomet Library board for 2 years and love it.  It’s exciting work and very fulfilling. I want to change the lives of the people around me, and serving the library allows me to do that for our entire community.  We need libraries to foster lifelong learning, and I’m proud of the way that we think outside the box to make that happen. Lastly, the Urbana Free Library changed my life growing up, and I feel an obligation to repay that debt.    

Kristi Lear Headshot
Kristi Lear

(Special Library Representative)

 klear@board.illinoisheartland.org

Illinois State Archives

Comments

Libraries have played an instrumental role throughout my life. As a child, I spent hours at the library checking out books, doing research for school, and using the computers. Starting in elementary school, it was librarians who taught me to do research, and that continued into college, where the librarians were so instrumental that they inspired me to become one myself. I graduated with my Master of Science in Library and Information Sciences in 2017. I spent the first three years of my career working for the Auburn Public Library District, first as the librarian and then as the library director. It was an honor to serve the Auburn community, but an opportunity to work at the Illinois State Archives arose in 2020 that I couldn't let pass. As a records archivist, I get to assist our patrons with their research. Each research request is like a mini mystery that I get to help solve. I am also passionate about promoting the use of primary sources in education. Libraries and archives go hand in hand as institutions of information, and I look forward to working together to support and uplift each other.

Chastity Mays headshot
Chastity Mays

(Public Library Trustee Representative)

 cmays@board.illinoisheartland.org

Carbondale Public Library

Comments

The library was a place I loved to go to in the summer when I was growing up, and I still remember participating in the summer reading program. I shared my love of the library with my children, and they grew up going to the library, where we would spend hours and hours in our local library. My entire immediate family loves to read, and we appreciate having our local library as a valuable resource. I was invited to become a board member of the Carbondale Public Library, and I am very honored to serve in this capacity. I am equally excited to be just as involved with Illinois Heartland Library System.

Emily Pickell Headshot
Emily Pickell

(School Library Representative)

 epickell@board.illinoisheartland.org

Champaign Community Unit District #4

Comments

My first library job was processing books in college at the University of Illinois. I loved it but was already pursuing a degree in education. After teaching social studies at a school with no library, I saw how important school libraries were to the success of a school. I worked as a middle school library clerk for a few years and eventually got my MSLIS at the University of Illinois. As a school librarian, I have worked in middle and high schools in Decatur and Champaign. I have been the librarian at Champaign Central High School since 2014. I am a member of AISLE and have participated in the Rebecca Caudill and Lincoln Award Book Choice committees. I recently joined a regional response team to fight censorship locally and look forward to helping defend the right to read. I am grateful for the opportunity to be on the IHLS Board. 

Headshot of Joshua Short
Joshua Short

(Public Library Trustee)

 jshort@board.illinoisheartland.org

Louis Latzer Memorial Public Library

Comments

The library was my sanctuary growing up, an endless world of opportunity. Over the years I have been on both sides of the counter, both employee and patron. I became a board member of the Louis Latzer Memorial Public Library as a way to shape how the library grew and evolved with the changing times. I am equally excited to be just as involved with the Illinois Heartland Library System.

headshot of Kristy Walker
Kristy Walker

(Public Library Trustee Representative)

 kwalker@board.illinoisheartland.org

Bethalto Public Library

Comments

After working over 15 years at the Bethalto Public Library, I "retired" amidst the shutdown. My job at the time was as a Programming Specialist, and since there was no programming, I resigned to assist my elderly parents. As soon as an opportunity to serve on the board of the aforementioned library, I jumped at the chance! It's been a privilege to serve my community in this capacity as a strong proponent of free access to materials of all kinds to enhance the lives of those who live here. I've used a library my entire life and would love the opportunity to watch and maybe, even if just a little, help things grow and adapt to our changing environment.