Skokie Library trustee, volunteer wins key grant
ACTIVITIES: Skokie Library trustee, library volunteer
Service years: Served on the board since 2009
HONORS: Won $850 American Library Association grant
GRANT USE: Will attend her first national library conference in June in Anaheim, Calif.
SKOKIEAN FOR: 36 years
LIKES: Reading, the library, travel, golf
Updated: June 29, 2012 9:32AM
Skokie Library Board member Karen Parrilli is a familiar face at the village’s renowned library, not only in the board room where trustees meet monthly, but also in the busy youth services department.
Before she was appointed to her trustee seat in 2009 and then elected to a six-year term in 2011, Parrilli was a weekly volunteer at the library, an activity she never gave up.
Every Monday, you can still find the enthusiastic Parrilli helping out in the library in a variety of ways. She knows of no better place to be.
“This kind of work was always a first love of mine,” she said. “I’ve loved this library for a long time.”
Before she retired, Parrilli, in fact, worked in Skokie School District 73.5’s Middleton School library. She then worked as an executive secretary for the Skokie Park District, but when she had some more time in her life, she immediately headed to the library.
“Volunteering there keeps me young,” she said.
Parrilli was an easy choice to fill a vacated seat on the board a few years ago, just as she was an easy choice to win a recent grant from the American Library Association, which named her an “outstanding trustee.”
The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF), a division of the American Library Association, named her Gale Outstanding Trustee Conference Grant winner.
The $850 grant will allow her to attend her first American Library Association annual conference in June in Anaheim, Calif. A formal presentation to Parrilli will be made at the conference.
“I was surprised when I heard I had won,” she said. “Attending the (American Library Association) annual conference in June will be a worthwhile opportunity to expand my knowledge vital to the ever-changing information needs of our community in the 21st century.”
Parrilli said she believes board members have “an obligation” to continue their educational growth with the most current information provided by professional organizations to serve the community, library, staff and patrons.
A Skokie resident for 36 years, Parrilli loves to read, which should come as no surprise. Her husband often comments on how she reads multiple books at once.
It also should come as no surprise that her son is an English teacher. He works in Germany at an international school teaching children ages 5 to 7.
“It’s hard being so far away,” she said, “but we Skype every week.”
Working at the library, she says, has never become a chore.
“I have nothing but the highest regard for the library and the people who work there,” Parrilli said. “I like coming to this library, I like helping in whatever way I can.”
Parrilli’s volunteer work includes aiding staff with projects, organizing a long list of books and working in the stacks with them and lending a hand to staff with children’s programs among other activities.
“I am honored to be able to be a part of such a great organization,” she said.
She has already signed up for workshops at the June conference.
“I’m very excited,” she said. “This is my first time going to a national conference and I intend to make the most of it. This will provide me with useful information for when I get back.”