PAM LEFFLER, Library Director
YOUR LIFE IN ONE LINE: Friends. Family. Good food. Good wine.
As Director of the Library and with the help of a lot of wonderful and highly dedicated and competent staff, I oversee and/or coordinate everything that happens in the library! My primary day-to-day responsibilities have to do with budgeting, personnel, and policy.
CURRENTLY READING: Reading The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni and listening to Catherine the Great by Robert Massie.
FAVORITE MOVIE: I don’t watch a lot of movies… but probably my all-time favorite is Beauty and the Beast (Disney version).
MOST USED APPS: Twitter, WhatsApp, Weather Channel and, during football season, Bleacher Report
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: I think the Library in and of itself is somewhat of a hidden treasure in Morton Grove! The Library has so much available, both for entertainment and education, and we hope that everyone has a chance to visit and see the recent renovations, and talk to some of our friendly, helpful and dedicated staff. The things that I really like about Morton Grove are the diversity of the community and it’s small town feel.
WHAT BOOK MADE YOU A READER?: Hmmm… not sure I can say that any one book made me a reader. I’ve always been a voracious reader and my parents have numerous stories of me having my nose always buried in a book from my childhood on, no matter where I was or who was around. I have to admit, things aren’t too much different as an adult!
WHAT, FOR YOU, IS THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT LIBRARIES TODAY?: The most interesting thing about libraries today is the scope and breadth of what we offer our communities. We’re no longer just warehouses of books and keepers of information. We’ve become a place to meet and gather, attend programs of all types for all ages, provide access to online resources, and so much more. People have been predicting the demise of libraries for decades now, and not only are we still around, we’re more important than ever.
SUE HEIDKAMP, Cataloger
YOUR LIFE SUMMED UP: I love spending time with my children, grandchildren, and husband. My second love is my sewing room.
Sue inputs data about materials into our electronic catalog that helps users locate books, serials and films. She is also responsible for maintaining our collection of magazines and newspapers.
CURRENTLY READING: I just finished reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer.
FAVORITE MOVIE: My favorite 'movie' is the 10th Anniversary production of Les Misérables preformed at the Royal Albert Hall.
MOST USED APPS: Overdrive for the downloading electronic book and audiobooks.
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: We have over 275 magazine subscriptions... something for every interest. We have magazines on plants, animals, hobbies, finances, home decor, history, fashion, popular culture, art and more. A magazine can spark a new interest which may lead you into the rest of the library to find out more on the topic.
FAVORITE PLACE TO VISIT IN CHICAGO: The Cultural Center (This is the old downtown public library I visited as a child!)
FAVORITE PLANT: False Indigo. I love the leaves and spring flowers, the seed pods that turn deep purple in the fall. It's three seasons of beauty, and best of all it's EASY to maintain.
ELIZABETH CEISEL, Computer Assistant
YOUR LIFE SUMMED UP: I live for the little things.
As a computer assistant I am always ready to help patrons in the computer lab.
CURRENTLY READING: The Martian by Andy Weir
LAST MOVIE WATCHED: Independence Day
MOST USED APPS: Since its release last week, Pokemon GO has taken over my phone
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: I think the Digital Media Lab is pretty cool. It’s great that people can convert their old cassette and VHS tapes to CDs and DVDs.
NAME SOME HOBBIES OF YOURS: I like to spend time with friends and family, read, and binge watch tv shows.
FAVORITE HOT WEATHER ACTIVITY: Swimming and sitting on the pier with a book at my family’s lake house.
POLO JARA, Maintenance Staff
YOUR LIFE SUMMED UP: I enjoy spending time with my family (wife, children, grandchildren) and practicing music on my guitar and accordion.
Polo is responsible for general maintenance around the building as well as building security. He can also be seen helping out with program set-up in the evenings.
CURRENTLY READING: I mainly read newspapers and magazines.
FAVORITE MOVIES: All Jackie Chan and Antonio Banderas movies.
MOST USED APPS: Doulingo, Facebook, Google, and YouTube
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: I just love libraries, in general, because they are great sources for information and education.
FAVORITE VACATION SPOT: When I can, I like to vacation in the beautiful country, Ecuador, which also happens to be where I was born.
FAVORITE FOOD?: Homemade tamales with jalapeños
KARINA GUICO, Graphic Designer
YOUR LIFE SUMMED UP: Photographer turned graphic designer who loves to bake, craft, and randomly burst into dance.
Karina is the library’s graphic designer. If you have read through Books & Beyond (the library’s newsletter) or participated in our Summer Reading Program Camp MGPL, then you’ve seen some of her handiwork. When she’s not laying out the next issue of B&B or creating posters for upcoming adult programs, you’ll catch her prepping to teach our monthly adult craft program, Get Hooked.
CURRENTLY READING: Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica
FAVORITE MOVIE: While You Were Sleeping
MOST USED APPS: Spotify and Instagram
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: Our website is pretty awesome. There’s so much information you can find there – from info about our great programs to book, movie, music recommendations. And the information is always changing, so be sure to check back often!
FAVORITE FONT: I would type everything out in Helvetica Neue Ultra Light if I could get away with it. I am also a big fan of the Bebas Neue font family, which I use a lot in signs and posters around the library.
ANY EXCITING SUMMER PLANS?: I have a couple trips planned this summer that I’m excited about. I get to explore new cities and re-visit a few of my favorites.
SLAVA SOROKIN, Library Associate
YOUR LIFE SUMMED UP: I have two lives- I was an Electrical engineer and a patent expert in my past life, and I fell in love with American libraries in 1992. I have lots of passions- the latest one is creating Russian Language learning computer/board games for kids. I also love art, music, nature, skiing, and biking while listening to the audio books.
Slava helps with reference, facilitates Monday Morning Play Group, Crafty Saturdays, developing lessons and teaching Learning to Code with Scratch classes.
CURRENTLY READING: Loneliness in the Net by Yanush Vishnevsky
FAVORITE MOVIES: I like movies based on true stories, also popular science, documentary, and biographies of extraordinary people
FAVORITE APP: Sky Map – an app that tells you exactly what you are seeing in the night sky.
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: The sweet little children attending our Monday Playgroup.
FAVORITE AUTHORS: Paulo Coelho de Souza, Haruki Murakami, O.Henry, Milan Kundera, Boris Akunin
FAVORITE CHILDREN'S BOOK: Frindle by Andrew Clements, Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor by Kathryn Lasky, The Giant Hug by Sandra Horning, Shipwrecked!: The True Adventures of a Japanese Boy by Rhoda Blumberg
COLLEEN DONAHUE, Library Associate
YOUR LIFE SUMMED UP: When not working, l love spending time with family and friends and taking the dog to the dog park.
Colleen helps patrons find that wanted book or maybe suggest a book or two. She also facilitates the explorers’ program, which is like an extended storytime. Colleen will read a chapter book over the course of 6 weeks and work in a fun art project that goes with the story.
CURRENTLY READING: A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Bachman
LAST MOVIE WATCHED: Brooklyn (LOVED IT!)
FAVORITE APP: Recently introduced to Waze….love it! Waze is an amazing directional app.
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: The game closet in youth services, which helps anyone take a break from technology and play a game or do a puzzle.
FAVORITE MAGAZINE: I hate to say it, but I love trash magazines. People is my go to.
NAME ONE THING YOU ARE SLIGHTLY OBSESSED WITH: Houseplants. I can’t seem to walk out of a nursery or store without one.
NIHAR SHAH, Circulation Clerk
YOUR LIFE SUMMED UP: A college student who is studying to become a software engineer, loves to travel, and learn new things in life. I am also a big sports fan, basketball in particular.
Nihar is a circulation clerk who is responsible for checking in and out library items, answering phone calls and signing up new library patrons.
CURRENTLY READING: My Own Country by Abraham Verghese
LAST MOVIE WATCHED: Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising
FAVORITE APP: Facebook
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: The outdoor sitting for when the weather is warm and pleasant.
FAVORITE THING ABOUT MORTON GROVE: The 4th of July carnival and fireworks.
ONE PLACE YOU WANT TO TRAVEL: Maldives
EMILY WHITMORE, Adult Services Librarian
YOUR LIFE SUMMED UP: A can’t-go-anywhere-without-a-book, travel-hungry, life-loving, smiley girl, who is always ready to learn about something new and is curious about everything.
Emily is the Volunteer Coordinator for the library, which means that she interviews and helps volunteers with their volunteering activities in the library. She also leads the new, “Podcast Listening Party” program, so if you are curious about podcast or love them already, come to discuss, listen to, and get recommendations for podcast.
CURRENTLY READING: In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick
LAST MOVIE WATCHED: Clue. A Classic movie: “This is war, Peacock! Casualties are inevitable. You can’t make an omlette without breaking eggs, every cook will tell you that!”
FAVORITE APP: Podcasts by Apple. I am always trying something new or catching up on shows that I already love like Nerdette, Modern Love, Reply All, Get Booked, and so many more.
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: The Digital Media Lab. There are so many fun projects to do in that space! I can’t wait to resurrect my high school era floppy discs to name one example.
CURRENT FAVORITE BOOK THAT YOU WANT EVERYONE TO READ: The Robert Galbraith mysteries are completely amazing. I listened to the audiobooks, which I highly recommend, and fell completely in love with the characters. I can’t wait for the fourth one to come out.
NAME ONE ITEM YOU WOULD WANT WITH YOU IF THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE HAPPENED: I would most definitely want access to a huge store of food. There is a Costco by my house that would work.
AMANDA HERMANN, Circulation Clerk
YOUR LIFE IN ONE LINE: A girl from Wisconsin.
Amanda is a circulation clerk, so she checks books in and out and make sure that everyone’s account is up to date.
CURRENTLY READING: Snuff by Terry Pratchett
FAVORITE MOVIES: Night of the Hunter
MOST USED APP: Overdrive
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: The strange Avon display in the women’s restroom.
FAVORITE SUMMER ACTIVITY: I like lying on the beach with a good book.
FAVORITE GENRE OF BOOK, MOVIE, TV SHOW WITH AN EXAMPLE: I like reading historical non-fiction. I highly recommend Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Start of a New Nation by David Price. Amazing! For the movie, I love old Universal monster movies. My favorite T.V. show of all time is The Andy Griffith Show.
SCOTT SILLS, Maintenance Staff
YOUR LIFE SUMMED UP: I do everything to my greatest ability. At this particular time in my life, I spent a lot of time with my kids and grandkids.
Scott, on the weekends, is responsible for all of the cleaning and maintenance related-issues, lawn-care, plumbing, etc.
CURRENTLY READING: My first love is Archeology, so I'm always reading the grey matter associated with it.
FAVORITE MOVIES: My favorite movies are action movies.
FAVORITE RADIO PROGRAM: I enjoy all the old-time mystery radio programs, like Dark Shadow or Green Hornet, but I also really like the Burns and Allen show.
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: All the action movies.
FAVORITE CHICAGO SPORTS TEAM: Blackhawks. It used to be the Cubs, but I gave up on them. Maybe this year...
FAVORITE FLAVOR OF ICE CREAM: Chocolate
BLANCHE MIYAMOTO, Administrative Assistant
YOUR LIFE SUMMED UP: God-centered faith, loving grandma, who enjoys exercising, hiking, crafting, and traveling.
Blanche assists the director by bookkeeping, helping with payroll, preparing board documents, and performing various other administrative tasks.
CURRENTLY READING: Symphony for the City of the Dead by M.T. Anderson
FAVORITE MOVIES: Lord of the Rings trilogy
MOST USED APP: Solitaire
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: It is a small library that offers a lot more than one expects.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CONCERT?: Dave Clark Five. They were an English pop rock group in the 60s.
LEAST FAVORITE SUBJECT IN SCHOOL: Speech
BRENDA GLENN, Youth Services Librarian and School Liaison
YOUR LIFE SUMMED UP: The last few years have been tough... and life changing. I’m forty-seven and feeling renewed and excited about my next chapter (librarian pun intended).
Brenda brings the library into local schools with story times, book talks, book clubs, etc., which entices local students to come to the library. She is as excited to see them HERE, in the library, as they are to see her. In addition, she orders fiction (chapter books) and runs our Mother/Daughter book clubs, which she LOVES.
CURRENTLY READING: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. I’m an English major who never read it, ssshhh. My daughter is reading it for a class, so I’ve decided to read it too. I love to discuss books with her.
FAVORITE MOVIES: Well, my all-time favorite movie is The Sound of Music. A lesser-known favorite that I’m recommending to everyone is Gloria. Set in Santiago, it's in Spanish, with subtitles. Gloria’s “joie de vivre,” even as her life unravels and spins out of her control, inspires me. I’m a Gloria-wannabe.
MOST USED APP: I play Words With Friends morning and night (literally). I’m exercising the left side of my brain every time I play. Wanna play? I’m brenglenn.
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: I’m a magazine junkie. I used to subscribe to more than ten titles a month. I’ve pared it down to just two and the rest I read at MGPL. I love celebrity gossip and MGPL has my fix.
BEST THING TO DO ON A RAINY DAY?: Movies and popcorn (with real butter) are perfect for rainy days.
FAVORITE BAND: I’m grooving heavily to Prince these days. We’ve lost a true artist.
COURTNEY SCHROEDER, Head of Youth Services
YOUR LIFE IN ONE LINE: A book-loving, movie-quoting, sarcasm-using new mom who views the world from behind rose-colored glasses a little too often.
Courtney manages the Youth Services department and its staff. She also selects for most of the non-fiction collection and the readers and does the Build-A-Reader storytimes throughout the year
CURRENTLY READING: The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Allison Levy and Persuaded by Rachel Schurig.
FAVORITE MOVIE: Ha! Like I could pick only one… The Holiday, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, and the 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice
MOST USED APP: Baby Connect (for tracking feedings, diaper changes, growth, etc.). That’s really sad.
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: I think one of the hidden treasures here is the incredible programs that staff put together. From storytimes to book discussions, this library puts together an incredible line-up of programming and works hard to make top-notch ideas into programs for the public.
WHAT BOOK MADE YOU A READER?: The Scarlet Letter (did you just roll your eyes?). Here is the thing: when I was in high school, a very attractive male English teacher had us read The Scarlet Letter. I had always liked books and read a ton, but until the day in class where he was discussing the opening of The Scarlet Letter and was rocking back and forth pulling at his hair with excitement and talking about juxtaposition, I had never LOVED a book. I never knew reading could make you feel like that… and then I set out to find a book that made me feel that level of excitement.
CURRENT FAVORITE BOOK THAT YOU WANT EVERYONE TO READ: I always recommend Masterpiece by Elise Broach (youth fiction) and Yuck! That’s not a Monster by Angela McAllister (picture book).
ED MOSELEY, Computer Assistant
YOUR LIFE SUMMED UP: Much of my life has been teaching and traveling and I always loved both. So I taught in schools in Miami, Missouri, Boston and Chicago. I’m from that generation that didn’t think there was much to life after 30 and I am thrilled to learn I was so wrong.
As a computer assistant Ed is ready to help patrons in our computer lab.
CURRENTLY READING: Indignation by Philip Roth and Man Without a Shadow by Joyce Carol Oates
FAVORITE MOVIE: Chinatown
LAST MOVIE WATCHED: 99 Homes
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: What a great television video selection!
FAVORITE PLANT: Peppers, not because they’re pretty, but because they’re tasty.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR HOBBIES?: I have two hobbies I love and I am equally bad at both—playing golf and playing banjo.
ELIZABETH DEVITO, Youth Services Librarian
YOUR LIFE SUMMED UP: To best sum up my life, I would say that my primary focus is the pursuit of happiness. Although I have some constants that will always make me smile (such as my niece, nephews, and cat), my “happiness” is constantly evolving.
As a Youth Services Librarian, I am responsible for programming, collection development, and outreach. I am presently doing Toddler Time on Thursday mornings, which is a very energetic way to start the day! I also order picture books and nonfiction DVDs. I’m currently doing some preschool and kindergarten outreach as well.
CURRENTLY READING: The Siren by Kiera Cass
LAST MOVIE WATCHED: The last movie I watched was the final installment in The Hunger Games series, Mockingjay – Part 2.
MOST USED APP: Instagram
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: I think the online resources we have available for children are a hidden treasure here at MGPL. The particular resource I am thinking of is Tumblebooks. Tumblebooks has narrated picture books, illustrated songs, and chapter book read-alongs available. It is accessible from the MGPL website, and you don’t even need to use your library card to take advantage of this service!
DO YOU HAVE A FAMILY POET OR POEM?: My favorite poet is probably Emily Dickinson – we even share the same initials!
WHAT TELEVISION SHOW COULD YOU WATCH OVER AND OVER AGAIN?: Honestly, there are probably several series I could watch time and again, but a couple of series I bought specifically for this purpose are: Okami-san and Her Seven Companions and Daria. Okami-san and Her Seven Companions is an anime series that parodies several fairy tales, namely Little Red Riding Hood, and Daria is an animated series that aired on MTV at the turn of the millennium. I love Daria’s monotone voice, and her dry sense of humor!
ANNE TAVOLACCI, Circulation Clerk
YOUR LIFE SUMMED UP: Done a lot, traveled a lot, and enjoyed it all. She hates to sit still, and although she loves gardens, she does not have a green thumb.
Anne works at the Check-Out Desk and does tasks related to checking-out and returning of items.
CURRENTLY READING: The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
FAVORITE MOVIES: Meet me in St. Louis and Kind Hearts and Coronets
MOST USED APP: Google
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: The size. I love the small, personal size of our library.
NAME ONE OF YOUR HOBBIES: Cooking and swimming
WHERE DO YOU MOST WANT TO TRAVEL, AND WHY?: There is so much to learn through travel! But I will say Italy – I love it there and I have some friends there.
DIANE RAUCCI, Circulation Clerk
YOUR LIFE SUMMED UP: Lately with spring upon us, I am looking forward to hiking, and possibly visiting some State and National Parks this year. I am really looking forward to visiting Apple River Canyon State Park. I am also a practicing yogi and learning about gluten-free baking.
Diane works at the Check-Out Desk in the center of our Library. She enjoys signing up new residents for library cards and checking-in the new items for our library.
CURRENTLY READING: Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman
LAST MOVIE WATCHED: Meet the Patels
MOST USED APP: Lately, my family got me into the app called Wordox, which is like scrabble you can play between 2 people.
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: Tough question. If I have to pick something, I would say the Consumer Reports Online Database because it is free, and it helps you find information on products to help with purchases. But the Youth Services Department with its many activities and programs for all ages is also a treasure. It is very hard to pick one.
FAVORITE PIZZA TOPPING: Mushrooms, black olives, and spinach, all the healthy stuff.
FAVORITE NATIONAL PARK: Zion National Park
NANA JEUN, Computer Assistant
YOUR LIFE IN ONE LINE: Life is a crazy adventure, and nothing is guaranteed.
Nana helps people use the computers and printers in the Library’s Computer Lab. She also assists staff in updating the Lab’s PCs and the laptops that can be checked out by patrons.
CURRENTLY READING: HTML, XHTML, and CSS, Sixth Edition by Elizabeth Castro
FAVORITE MOVIES: Howl’s Moving Castle and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
MOST USED APPS: Uber, Facebook, 9gag, Google Maps, Kakao, Google Hangout
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: The friendly library atmosphere and staff.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE POEM?: I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Wordsworth
WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE CHOCOLATE, VANILLA, OR SWIRL ICE CREAM?: I absolutely can’t chose just one. So will go undecided on this question.
JULIET BARCHAM, Circulation Clerk
YOUR LIFE SUMMED UP: A sociology student, good listener, laid-back, loves flowers, and the simple things in life.
Juliet checks materials in and out, organizes returned items, and answers telephone calls. Juliet’s favorite part of coming to work is to interact with patrons, and try to make a good impression.
CURRENTLY READING: I’m a student, so all I really read is textbooks. Currently, I am reading social work textbooks for my classes.
LAST MOVIE WATCHED: Even though I do not watch this particular genre of movies much, the last film I watched was Deadpool, and I have to say it was pretty good!
MOST USED APP: Facebook
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: I would say the laptops at the Check-Out Desk that patrons can check-out to use for 2 hours.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE POET OR POEM?: While, I am not a person who reads a lot of poetry, I do have to say that I like William Shakespeare’s sonnets.
FAVORITE MAGAZINE: Pretty much anything with food in it! I love to bake, so anything that might have a recipe in it.
CHAD COMELLO, Adult Services Librarian
YOUR LIFE IN ONE LINE: Reader of presidential biographies, watcher of good cinema, lover of strange words, and husband of another librarian.
Chad manages MGPL’s nonfiction e-books and e-audiobooks, Writers Workshop, Twitter and Instagram accounts, and various projects and programs in the Digital Media Lab. He also buys books in the science and religion sections, and answers whatever questions he can at the Info Desks.
CURRENTLY READING: The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia by Michael Booth. I’m part Finnish and Norwegian and am visiting Scandinavia this summer, so I thought I should do some research.
LAST MOVIE WATCHED: Macbeth starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. I would watch those two actors in anything.
MOST USED APPS: Google Maps and iPhone Notes.
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: As a heavy reader of nonfiction, I know of so many nonfiction books hidden in the stacks that you’d love. Track me down to get a recommendation!
WILL YOU BE DOING ANYTHING FESTIVE FOR ST. PATRICK'S DAY?: Drinking as many Shamrock Shakes as my inner shame will allow.
ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE PROJECTS ANYONE CAN DO IN THE MEDIA LAB: Whatever you can’t do at home, like convert your VHS home movies to DVD or digitize slides and old photos.
TOM KROPSKI, Shelver
YOUR LIFE SUMMED UP: I’ve been hooked on the power of imagination since my mom read me that first bedtime story. Ever since, my professional and personal life (I met my wife at a bookstore!) has revolved around books, comics, movies, and creativity.
Tom’s responsibilities include re-shelving materials, searching for missing items and generally making the stacks look neat and tidy.
CURRENTLY READING: I just finished Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe, and I am now reading The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens who made England by Dan Jones
FAVORITE MOVIES: Tough to pick just one. My three definite favs are Seven Samurai, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and There Will Be Blood.
MOST USED APPS: Google Maps
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: Scott C.’s book, The Great Showdowns. It’s a brilliant piece of modern Pop Art; every page of that book makes me smile.
FAVORITE CD OF ALL TIME: Toss up between Soundgarden’s Superunknown and Jeff Buckley’s Grace
WHICH MOVIE NOMINATED FOR BEST PICTURE DO YOU THINK WILL WIN?: I think The Revenant will win, but personally, I hope Mad Max: Fury Road wins. (Winner of the Oscar: Spotlight)
MELISSA MAYBERRY, Adult Services Librarian
YOUR LIFE IN ONE LINE: An adventure seeker who relishes new experiences in real life and on the page.
Melissa coordinates, creates and schedules the computer and technology classes. Melissa enjoys teaching the core classes such as Microsoft Excel as well as creating fun new classes such as “Smartphone Photography,” and the upcoming “Using Google Calendar.” Melissa also recently took on the responsibility of supervising the Computer Assistants.
CURRENTLY READING: So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
FAVORITE MOVIES: I’m a sucker for classic epics, such as Lawrence of Arabia and Dr. Zhivago.
MOST USED APPS: Hard question. I love trying out new apps so my phone has over a hundred. That said, I’m currently most excited to use the Iditarod app for the upcoming race. (Starts on March 5th!)
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: The “Book a Librarian” service is a great way for our residents to get one-on-one assistance with technology, research and more.
FAVORITE BOOK: I love Winterdance by Gary Paulsen. It is a riveting, fast-paced adventure, both humorous and dramatic with vivid details that will have you laughing out loud.
WHICH MOVIE NOMINATED FOR BEST PICTURE DO YOU WANT TO WIN?: I was not able to see all the nominated movies, but I did see and enjoy The Martian so would happy to see it get some Oscar attention.
CAROLINE NAKIC, Circulation Clerk
YOUR LIFE IN ONE LINE: I like to keep busy!
Caroline checks library materials in and out, issues library cards, and prepares returned materials for shelving. After retiring from social work, Caroline was particularly happy about working at the library because she realizes that she is still able to help people.
CURRENTLY READING: Dante’s Wood by Lynne Raimondo
LAST MOVIE WATCHED: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
MOST USED APPS: Facebook and Google Maps
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: The Magazine Area: People are able to come in, sit down, and relax in a comfortable, welcoming area for free.
FAVORITE KIND OF FLOWER: I love lilacs because they remind me of spring.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF VALENTINE'S DAY?: I love that there is a day dedicated to spending time with loved ones, which is, incidentally, my favorite part of Valentine’s Day.
GANKA KUNEVA, Maintenance Staff
YOUR LIFE IN ONE LINE: I wanted to work at the library because I can help people everyday, and I love that.
Daily, Ganka helps with room set-ups for programs, brings books in from the book drop, makes sure the library is clean and tidy for patrons, and so much more. However, the craziness of Maintenance means that Ganka never knows what her day looks like. It has also been said of her that she is the heart and soul of the Maintenance Department.
CURRENTLY READING: The House of Memories by Monica McInerney
FAVORITE MOVIES: Avatar and Oceans 11-13
FAVORITE APPS: Facebook, News, Google Maps
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: All the people (staff, community member, etc.) working together at the library to keep it running and enjoyable for others.
FAVORITE KIND OF SWEET: Chocolate
BEST THING TO DO ON A RAINY DAY: Read a book.
MARLENE MARK, Adult Services Librarian
YOUR LIFE IN ONE LINE: Frugal, friendly, fascinating, funny and fickle!
Marlene is responsible for the ESL/ELL/Citizenship and World Languages collections. She also oversees the Book Sale area and requests for proctoring tests.
CURRENTLY READING: A Full Life by Jimmy Carter and Girl in the Dark by Anna Lyndsey
FAVORITE MOVIES: Amalie, Napoleon Dynamite, and (overall) Documentaries
FAVORITE APPS: Weather, TuneIn Radio, GasBuddy, OverDrive, and YouTube
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: Our Book Sale area. You never know what you may find there!
DID YOU ESTABLISH NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION? WHAT WAS IT?: Unintentionally, yes! On New Year’s Day, I listened to the audiobook by Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. This book inspired my 2016 quest to try downsizing the items in my life that don’t “spark joy.”
NAME ONE TV SHOW YOU ARE SLIGHTLY OBSESSED WITH?: American Ninja Warrior
BOB PALAS, Adult Services Librarian
YOUR LIFE SUMMED UP: Lover of art, drawing, music, tons of laughter, cooking and perfecting homemade pasta sauce, spending time with my kids/family. Guitarist and lead vocalist for a punk rock band; I enjoy playing various venues in the Chicagoland area.
Bob enjoys helping patrons at the Info Desks. He is also responsible for various adult programs including music concerts, informative programs, Movies, Munchies, and More... and more!
CURRENTLY READING: Post Office by Charles Bukowski and Siege of Station 19 by Raegan Butcher.
LAST MOVIE WATCHED: Minions
MOST USED APP: Deviant Art
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: The Digital Media Lab -- definitely a treasure for the people of my era (the 80s and 90's).
NAME ONE ITEM YOU WOULD WANT WITH YOU IF YOU WERE STRANDED ON A DESERTED ISLAND: My guitar
FAVORITE BAND(S): OFF! and Marina and the Diamonds.
JESS ALEXANDER, Youth Services Librarian
YOUR LIFE SUMMED UP: A nerd who revels in transgressing, a former editor, a total sap who secretly composes book lists for people who make me happy.
Jess is known for running zany programs, which tend to involve math or robots or pirate-hat-wearing sing-alongs (or more math). Jess purchases comics, video games, and some nonfiction titles for Youth Services and is always glad to stop and geek-out about books.
CURRENTLY READING: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton (I scored an advance reader’s copy!), The Librarian Stereotype edited by Nicole Pagowky and Miriam Rigby, and A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz (absurdly dark and I have no idea how it will end)
FAVORITE MOVIE: The Quiet Man
MOST USED APP: Google Maps
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: One can find the ancient Viking game of Kubb in the Youth Services workroom.
IF YOU WERE A SUPERHERO, WHAT WOULD YOUR NAME BE, AND WHAT WOULD YOUR SUPERPOWER BE?: Super Jess would have the ability to commune with the beasts... and occasionally shoot laser eye beams.
NAME ONE ITEM YOU WOULD WANT WITH YOU IF THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE HAPPENED: If video games have taught us anything, clearly the best defense against the zombies is a plant.
DEBBIE WIEDEMAN, Early Literacy Coordinator
YOUR LIFE IN ONE LINE: Lover of people of all ages, stories both real and make-believe, and music, lots of music.
Debbie, as Early Literacy Coordinator, handles preschool outreach and some storytimes as well as purchasing board books and CDs for the Youth Services Department. She is currently very passionate about how the library can help bridge the 30 million word gap.
CURRENTLY READING: Tap, Click, Read: Growing Readers in an Age of Screens by Lisa Guernsey and Michael H. Levine (Learn more at www.tapclickread.org) and the books on the Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award list.
FAVORITE MOVIE: Singin’ in the Rain
MOST USED APP: Facebook
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: DVDs in nonfiction, like the documentaries Baseball and Jazz by Ken Burns
FAVORITE CHILDREN'S BOOK: Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss
FAVORITE GAME THAT YOU PLAYED WITH YOUR FAMILY: Solitaire Frenzy. Every person that plays has a deck of cards, and the Aces all go in the middle. Then, everyone races to get rid of the cards in their hand by creating numerically accurate piles.
KRISTINA PARK, Shelver
YOUR LIFE SUMMED UP: Mother of three, home cook, loves libraries, ready to eat out without seeing a kid’s menu, and a lover of sweets.
Kristina is one of the individuals responsible for placing library materials back on the shelf. When you see her or her co-workers, they will most likely have a cart of book ready to be placed back where they are supposed to go.
CURRENTLY READING: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
FAVORITE MOVIES: Kill Bill and Anchorman
MOST USED APP: If I had a phone with apps, it would be Target Cartwheel
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: Wireless printing. I once had to print a Christmas Bingo game for my kids, which, of course, meant my printer at home would not work. But, the library’s wireless printing worked, and it is amazing!
FAVORITE PINTEREST SEARCH: Seasonal craft and party ideas
FAVORITE ANIMAL: It used to be pandas, but I would now say that it is my kids.
DENNIS RUTKOWSKI, Copy Cataloger
YOUR LIFE SUMMED UP: Chicago born and raised, diverse past employment from the Mercantile Exchange to libraries, likes museums, the theater, zoos, cats, magazines, lifelong carnivore, MA in English, never taken a selfie, and nicest guy on the North Shore (ask anyone).
Dennis imports, edits, and reviews bibliographic records for adult and young adult fiction and non-fiction, also adult music CDs. To put it another way, he organizes the information that helps people find an item in the physical or digital library.
CURRENTLY READING: Family Secrets: The Case that Crippled the Chicago Mob by Jeff Coen
A FAVORITE MOVIE: The Scent of a Woman
MOST USED APP: I'm too old to play with apps.
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: I think it's pretty remarkable that nobody cracked up during the building reconstruction. Despite the conditions, the place still functioned and everyone got along. I've worked in places where people couldn't stand the sight of each other; the MGPL gang is a good group.
NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION: Again, I'll resolve to be more mindful and see how long it lasts
FAVORITE ARTIST: There are too many to pick one, so for now I'll go with Francis Bacon. There's a new biography about him that I want to get to. The guy was a real maniac.
DAVE HESSE, Head of Maintenance Services
YOUR LIFE SUMMED UP: Ex-Salesman and marketer, who fell into library land and now does not want to leave. Tries to live life to the fullest. His kids would describe him as an “old man, dork, and uncool."
Dave, with the help of his staff, is responsible for the HVAC, electric, and plumbing systems, plus painting and lots of other sundry projects that crop up.
CURRENTLY READING: What Dwells Within: A Study of Spirit Attachment by Jayne Harris
FAVORITE MOVIE: Army of Darkness
MOST USED APP: Yahoo Fantasy Football App
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE AT MGPL: Interlibrary Loan is an amazing service. The staff does a great job of filling requests and using the service as an additional way of getting the right book to the right person.
WHO IS, CURRENTLY, YOUR MVP FROM YOUR FANTASY FOOTBALL TEAM?: Odell Beckham Jr. of the New York Giants
FAVORITE BAND: Megadeth
WILL PLEAS, Circulation Clerk
YOUR LIFE SUMMED UP: Avid gamer who does not discriminate between analog (board games, tabletop RPG's) and digital (console, mobile) as long as there is fun to be had.
Most of my time, I'm handing the comings and goings of library materials. Occasionally, I'm tasked with managing our super-cool disc cleaner and helping out in our computer lab. But I'm always happy to be here.
CURRENTLY READING: One Man Against the World: The Tragedy of Richard Nixon by Tim Weiner
LAST MOVIE WATCHED: I watched all the Star Wars films in a row, including Episode VII.
MOST USED APP: Unfortunately for my wallet, the Amazon app.
NAME A HIDDEN TREASURE ABOUT MGPL: The good people who work so hard behind the scenes to keep this library running smoothly from the folks in Admin Office, Tech services, and especially Maintenance. None of the staff you see on a daily basis could do what we do without them.
FAVORITE HOLIDAY-THEMED MOVIE: A tie between Love Actually and Die Hard
FAVORITE KIND OF ICE CREAM: Churro-flavored ice cream from Jeni¹s would be tops with popcorn-flavored ice cream being a possible contender. If frozen custard was included, my heart belongs to Kopp¹s and the one-two punch of Butter Pecan and Peach Melba. Yes, I have many thoughts on ice cream.
ELY SIEBER-CLAUS, Circulation Clerk
YOUR LIFE SUMMED UP: It is all about the food.
When Ely is staffing the Check-Out Desk, she is always ready with a book, movie, or TV show recommendation. And after she convinces you to try a new show or book, she will then checkout the item for you. Outside of her responsibilities related to checking in and checking out items, Ely is loved by staff because she is always sharing new recipes with friends and co-workers.
CURRENTLY READING: The Martian by Andy Weir
FAVORITE THING ABOUT MORTON GROVE: The library, of course
LAST MOVIES WATCHED: Kingsman and Water Diviner
NAME ONE THING THAT YOU CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT: My children
MOST USED APP: When asked, Ely [jokingly] responded with “What is that exactly?”
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SEASON OF THE YEAR: I love all of them at different times.
NATALYA FISHMAN, Head of Adult Services
YOUR LIFE SUMMED UP: Bilingual, filled with curiosity for technology, photography, literature, classical music, and more, with a constant feeling that a 24-hour day is too short.
Natalya supervises Adult Services staff and operations, including teen and adult collections and services. She works with other staff on planning programs and technology workshops, and ordering of print and digital resources. Fun fact: Natalya has, at one time or another, worked in every department in the building with the exception of Maintenance.
CURRENTLY READING: Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie
FAVORITE THING ABOUT MORTON GROVE: The library because of staff and patrons.
FAVORITE MOVIES: You’ve Got Mail, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Ida
FAVORITE SUBJECT IN SCHOOL: English Literature and Geometry
MOST USED APP: Flipboard
FAVORITE MYSTERY TV SHOWS: Sherlock, Broadchurch, and Rosemary & Thyme
KEVIN JUSTIE, Assistant Director & Head of Automated Services and Technology
YOUR LIFE SUMMED UP: Tech geek. The license plate on my car is WEBrary, but I'd rather be driving a Macintosh.
In addition to Kevin’s responsibilities as Assistant Director, he is also the person in charge of the computer systems for the library. In other words, he is the one-man IT department for the library, which is funny because when Kevin started working at MGPL 34 years ago, the library did not own a single computer.
CURRENTLY READING: Iron Wolf by Dale Brown and Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don’t by Nate Silver
FAVORITE MOVIES: Field of Dreams, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Top Gun
LAST WATCHED MOVIE: Spectre
FAVORITE SUBJECT IN SCHOOL: Physics and math
MOST USED APP: The Weather Channel App and Yahoo Sports
NAME ONE THING YOU LIKE ABOUT WINTER: Using my snow blower
DAN THORSON, Adult & Teen Services Librarian
YOUR LIFE SUMMED UP: Committed believer in libraries making the world better. Avid eater, punk rock guitarist, cyclist, train watcher, photographer, and hockey fan.
Dan is the overseer of all things teen in the library – planner of teen events, arranger of the Teen Space, coordinator of awesome teen volunteers, frequent book-talker at middle and high schools, and organizer of Battle of the Books. His favorite responsibility is meeting and getting to know teens in the library and throughout the community.
CURRENTLY READING: A 52-Hertz Whale by Bill Sommer and Natalie Haney Tilghman
FAVORITE THING ABOUT MORTON GROVE: The high rate of delicious pizza places per capita.
FAVORITE MOVIE: The Fugitive
WHERE DO YOU MOST WANT TO TRAVEL?: Portland, OR via Amtrak
MOST USED APP: Endomondo Fitness Tracker
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TABLETOP GAME?: Bohnanza (You get to collect beans!)
BRENDA ROSS, Adult Services Librarian and Foundation Development Manager
YOUR LIFE SUMMED UP: Theatrical Sound Engineer turned Librarian. Yogini. Mother of Dragons.
Brenda, in her role of Adult Services Librarian, teaches classes in the Media Lab, schedules the movie programs for adults, and purchases the DVDs for the library. She also, in her role as the Foundation Development Manager, recruits new members, runs meetings, and facilitates fundraisers.
CURRENTLY READING: H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
FAVORITE THING ABOUT MORTON GROVE: Pequod's Pizza
FAVORITE MOVIE: Ghostbusters
PET'S NAMES: 2 cats, Buster and Lucielle
MOST USED APP: Facebook
FAVORITE CHILDHOOD BOARD GAME: Mousetrap
ABBEY COON, Computer Assistant
YOUR LIFE IN ONE LINE: To give more and to do more with the opportunities I have been given.
Abbey is a friendly face you will find behind the computer lab desk where she helps people use the computers and printers. She helps publicize library events by entering them into an online calendar and also by maintaining stats for the study rooms.
CURRENTLY READING: Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel
FAVORITE THING ABOUT MORTON GROVE: The diversity of the people
FAVORITE MOVIE: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
FAVORITE PODCAST: Grammar Girl
MOST USED APP: Laudate
ONE OF YOUR HOBBIES: "garage sale-ing" upcycling
LESLIE MARLEY, Youth Services Program Coordinator
YOUR LIFE SUMMED UP: A Lawyer and Artist, who works in a library. I collect, read, listen, create, garden, clean and organize.
As the Programming Coordinator for Youth Services, Leslie handles the booking of outside performers for the Youth Services Department. She also manages the movie collection in Youth Services; gets to pick which kids’ movies play in the Baxter Room; and runs and creates programs like Drama Club, Doodlemania, Dear Diary, and many others.
CURRENTLY READING: Paper Towns by John Green
FAVORITE THING ABOUT MORTON GROVE: Homey, small-town feel in a large-city environment
FAVORITE MOVIE: Casablanca
FAVORITE FICTIONAL CHARACTER: Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice
MOST USED APP: Facebook or Instagram
MOST USED WORD: Grey
BETTINA MARAVOLO, Library Associate
YOUR LIFE SUMMED UP: To help people learn, find the right resource for a child, and listen to audiobooks.
She is responsible for internal promotion and graphic design for Youth Services. However, she can sometimes be seen at story times, and her greatest joy at work is helping a child research a school project or interest by using the databases and non-fiction books.
CURRENTLY READING: A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny
FAVORITE THING ABOUT MORTON GROVE: Forest preserve
LAST MOVIE SHE WATCHED: Shaun the Sheep
FAVORITE CHILDHOOD BOOK: Corduroy by Don Freeman
MOST USED APP: Weather Channel
FIRST CONCERT: Rolling Stones
MEGAN ROSOL, Adult Services Librarian
YOUR LIFE SUMMED UP: Committed book nerd – no matter the genre or format. Runner. Indiscriminate tea drinker. Let’s talk books (in Polish or English).
Megan is our go-to Readers’ Advisory Librarian. She handles the book discussions and book talks. She also purchases fiction books and e-books, audiobooks, and graphic novels for the library, but if you asked her, she would say that her favorite responsibility is helping patrons find their next best read.
CURRENTLY READING: Saint Mazie by Jamie Attenberg
FAVORITE THING ABOUT MORTON GROVE: The people
FAVORITE MOVIE: Annie Hall
SONG SHE HAS ON REPEAT 1: Feelin' Good by Nina Simone
MOST USED APP: Overdrive
LEAST FAVORITE SUBJECT IN SCHOOL: Physics
JEFF RAY, Head of Circulation Services
YOUR LIFE IN ONE LINE: Just a small town boy from Southern Indiana.
His responsibilities include managing the circulation desk and staff as well as buying items for nonfiction. He might also be seen at the Morton Grove Farmers' Market's library booth.
CURRENTLY READING: Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
FAVORITE 90s JAM: Bryan Adams - (Everything I Do) I Do It For You
FAVORITE MOVIE: Good Fellas
FAVORITE FOOD: Pizza
MOST USED APP: US Weekly
FAVORITE THING ABOUT MORTON GROVE: The small town feel.