Join us!

Update: We are no longer accepting applications for the Recharge Committee. Thank you to everyone who applied.

If you’re an information professional eager to get involved in the library world and create learning opportunities for other library professionals, consider joining the Recharge Committee! We’re looking for people who are creative, organized, and motivated to try new things.

Recharge is committed to providing free continuing education opportunities that address new and emerging technologies, transcend department silos, and respond to a variety of needs and interests. Check out our past programs for an idea of what types of events we’ve done.

The committee meets four times a year to brainstorm and plan programs, field trips, and other events we hope are beneficial to library folks. Committee membership is voluntary but includes certain expectations, like:

  • Attending all 4 in-person meetings per year, missing no more than 1 per year
  • Committing to at least 1 year of membership
  • Committing to co-planning and attending at least 1 program per year
  • Possibly using your own library as a hosted space for a program or meeting
  • Committing to active virtual communication

If you’re interested in joining Recharge, email your resume to along with a brief message about why you want to join.


Partner Power: Tapping the Unlimited Power of Community Engagement

Date: Friday, September 27, 2019

Time: 10 AM – 12 PM

Location: Gail Borden Public Library District: Main Library – 270 N Grove Ave, Elgin, IL 60120

What does it take to be a powerful partner? Learn from the Gail Borden Public Library Community Engagement Team and their Community Partners on what it takes to make an impact in your community. Spark Talks will be followed by an opportunity for you to ask questions of library staff and their partners. Power up your Partners to expand your library’s community presence.

Cost: FREE – Sponsored by Today’s Business Solutions and H.W. Wilson.


This event is intended for library staff, library professionals, and library school students.

partner power square

Field Trips

Field Trip: Kane County Law Library

DATE:  Friday, September 6, 2019

TIME:  10 AM – 12:30 PM

Kane County Law Library and Legal Self Help Center
37W777 Rt. 38
St. Charles, IL 60175

COST:  Free

Located within the Kane County Judicial Center, the Kane County Law Library & Self Help Legal Center is open to the public and provides access to digital and print resources for legal research. Staffed by a team of library professionals, the Kane County Law Library & Self Help Legal Center aims to “provide outstanding service, recognizing, supporting, and furthering open and equal access to legal and governmental information.”

Join us for a field trip to the law library, which will include a tour of the library followed by a presentation from the library’s director, Halle Cox, on the library’s resources and answers to the commonly asked questions by librarians and patrons. Prairie State Legal Services and Administer Justice will also give short presentations on their services. Lunch following the program will be provided to all attendees courtesy of the Kane County Law Library & Self Help Legal Center. For more information on Kane County Law Library & Self Help Legal Center, please click here.


Career Roadmap: Strategies to Chart a Path & Build Connections

Date: Saturday, April 6, 2019

Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Location: Schaumburg Township District Library, 130 South Roselle Road, Schaumburg, IL 60193

Learning non-linear ways to road-map your career, this event will provide you the opportunity for meaningful professional connections. Participants will learn strategies to supplement their career, and will be inspired by our speaker’s stories related to their library careers. Participants will be able to ask questions and get their head shot taken. 

At the end of the event, participants will:

  1. Identify action steps to start incorporating new ways of professional development in their work lives.
  2. Evaluate what is important to them during the course of their career.
  3. Deconstruct traditional linear methods of career road-mapping relevant to their career aspirations.

Featured Speakers:

Jason Driver, Branch Manager of Legler Regional Library, a Chicago Public Library Branch

Leah White, Learning & Development Coordinator, Skokie Public Library — Presenter Slides

Debra Wischmeyer, Member Services Coordinator, Cooperative Computer Services

Amy Alessio, Presenter, Author, and Teen Librarian



Jeremy Slayton

Cost: Free



This event is intended for library staff, library professionals, and library school students.


Creating a Culture of Contribution: A Fresh Look at Participatory Learning in Libraries

Date: Friday, March 1, 2019

Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Location: Skokie Public Library, 5215 Oakton Street, Skokie, IL 60077, Radmacher Room

Join the Recharge Committee for a workshop on participatory culture in libraries. Participatory experiences put the user in charge of their learning and provide the opportunity for meaningful community connections. Learn strategies to facilitate and scale programs and spaces for your patrons no matter your library’s size by leveraging trends to inspire your community to take ownership of library experiences. Be ready to share ideas and get hands-on with participatory activities.

At the end of this session, participants will:

  1. Deconstruct traditional methods of programming relevant to their community.
  2. Identify actions steps to start incorporating participatory elements.
  3. Evaluate participatory experiences and their impact on the community.


Alicia Hammond, Forest Park Public Library

Amy Holcomb, Skokie Public Library

Vicki Rakowski, Barrington Area Library

Cost: Free


This event is designed and intended for library staff members.


Culture of Contribution Slides

Field Trips News Programs

Field Trip: Morton Arboretum

Date:  Friday, September 21

Time: 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Location: The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois 53, Lisle, IL 60532

Register Here


The Morton Arboretum was established in 1922 and envisioned to be a “great outdoor museum of trees.” Situated on over 1,700 acres on the banks of the DuPage River in Lisle, IL. The arboretum is home to 222,000 live plants and 4,300 taxa and houses a library, visitor’s center, children’s garden, maze, plant clinic, miles of trails, roads, and special exhibits.

Join us for a field trip to the arboretum which will include a tour of the Sterling Library, a Q&A session with staff and self-guided tour of the Children’s Garden and 30-minute narrated tram tour of the arboretum property. “The entire Arboretum has been certified as a Nature Explore Classroom, rich with opportunities for healthy learning. The unique areas of the Children’s Garden work as casual, outdoor classrooms that blend active learning and multi-sensory adventures.” The Q&A session will allow attendees to ask questions and gain insight of how to apply these concepts at their libraries. For more information on the Morton Arboretum, please click here.

This event is intended for library staff only.

Cost: FREE

Register Here


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News Programs

Civic Engagement at the Library: Programs for the Political Climate

Date: Wednesday, May 23rd

Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Location: Arlington Heights Memorial Library, 500 N. Dunton Ave. Arlington Heights, IL 60004

Libraries are increasingly asked to lead their communities in addressing political and other hot button topics. However, staff may feel at a loss for how to approach these less traditional programming topics.

At this panel, presenters will discuss the various initiatives they’ve led at their libraries ranging from programing on talking to kids about race, to how to engage elected officials, to holding a kindness rally. Participants will leave with strategies to successfully launch civic and political programming at their libraries.


Jose Cruz, Middle School Services Librarian, Oak Park Public Library

Skye Lavin, Adult Services Manager, Forest Park Public Library

Mike Monahan, Specialty Info Services Supervisor, Arlington Heights Public Library

Susan Wolf, Reference Manager, Northbrook Public Library

Cost: FREE




Small Town Connections – Civic Engagement at FPPL – Skye Lavin

Politics, Civics, and Public Libraries – Mike Monahan

Openness, Inclusivity, and Civic Engagement –  Susan Wolf


News Programs

Equity in Making: A Framework for Embodied Learning and Educational Justice

Date: Thursday, March 15th

Time: 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Location: Skokie Public Library, 5215 Oakton Street, Skokie, IL 60077

The maker movement has transformed learning in libraries, introducing maker education opportunities for underserved youth populations. But what are the best practices in facilitating making with youth and young adults?

Dr. Shirin Vossoughi is an assistant professor of Learning Sciences at Northwestern University where she researches making and tinkering in afterschool settings. Join her and her colleague Dr. Natalie Davis to learn how to approach making with youth audiences using a framework that is rooted in valuing joint activity and engaging children and youth as agentive thinkers.

This presentation will look at how formal and informal educators facilitate making, what is considered making across many cultures, and how facilitation practices effect learner interactions. Participants will leave with best practices for improving their maker experiences at their libraries.


Dr. Shirin Vossoughi, Associate Professor of Learning Sciences, Northwestern University

Dr. Natalie R. Davis, Post Doctoral Fellow in Learning Sciences within the School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University

Partnership: This program is in partnership with Tinker.

Cost: FREE – Sponsored by Today’s Business Solutions and H.W. Wilson.



Interview: Mark Aaron Polger, founder of Marketing Libraries Journal

mark-aaron-polger.jpgMark Aaron Polger is the First Year Outreach Librarian at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York (CUNY), and an Information Literacy Instructor at ASA College. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of Marketing Libraries Journal, a new open source, peer-reviewed scholarly journal that is dedicated to research in library marketing and its components. We talked to Mark about how the MLJ came into being, what it takes to put an issue together, and which topics in LIS could use more scholarly examination.

Congratulations on the first issue! Describe the genesis of the MLJ. What were your initial ideas of what it could be?

Thank you for the well wishes! We are all excited that the first issue is finally out! It has been a long year! I have been interested in library marketing ever since I was a Children’s Librarian in 2001. Marketing is about connecting the right products and services with your target audience(s). I could not find an academic journal devoted to the marketing of libraries. There are many academic journals that contain articles about marketing, but there is no single journal devoted to it. I also wanted it to be open access and online. I did some research about how to start up an academic journal and in late 2016, I decided to go for it. I recruited about 40 volunteers who make up the editorial board of peer reviewers, advisory board members, a communications director, communication officers, column editors, layout editors, and copy editors. I oversee the entire cycle of soliciting submissions, receiving submissions, reading them, forwarding along to peer reviewers for double blind peer review, accepting submissions for our columns, coordinate the flow of activities and liaise between the authors, peer reviewers, column editors, layout, and copy editors. I have little experience “driving the ship” but it has been an exciting year for me.

What is your background in libraries and library marketing?
I obtained my MLIS degree nearly 20 years ago from the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada. I’ve had a keen interest in marketing for a long time. I read the literature on library marketing but I do not have any formal education in the field. I started an MBA in marketing in Fall 2014 but I never completed it. I am known as an “accidental library marketer” because in all my previous roles as a librarian (in public, medical, and academic libraries), marketing duties fell into my lap. I began to read more about marketing and its components (communications, advertising, promotion, publicity, and public relations) and I really enjoyed this skill set.


How did you go about assembling the editorial and production team? What about the advisory board and peer reviewers?
I sent out a call for volunteers who would like to be part of a brand new academic journal. I targeted specific library listservs and I also targeted specific library people who were well known in the field of library marketing. I wanted to recruit a diverse group of volunteers from all libraries and from other countries besides the United States. I looked over many CVs and carefully selected our slate of peer reviewers, and column editors. When all manuscripts were ready, I had to find a dedicated (and patient) production team of layout and copy editors who would work with the column editors and authors in ensuring that the articles were in top shape for publication.

Did you always envision MLJ as open source and independently published or did you consider other publishing models?
I always envisioned that MLJ would be open access (green and gold). I always wanted authors to retain their rights and to post their articles on their personal web sites and/or academic digital repository.

What goes into putting together one issue of a peer-reviewed scholarly journal like MLJ?
It is all about setting deadlines and having a flexible schedule. The peer review process takes time. I’ve had to become more patient this past year. The process of reviewing manuscripts, offering feedback, and asking authors to review and make edits takes a lot of time. Documenting everything is important. We use Google drive to share documents and take informal notes from our Zoom meetings. The web site is very useful as it contains a wealth of information on the types of submissions, the deadlines, and additional resources on how to submit a manuscript to a scholarly journal. The editorial board comprises many busy people and we try to schedule Zoom video meetings every 6-8 weeks. I schedule meetings with different members of the board so I can focus the discussion on specific timely issues. Email communication has been very important. I’ve also been fortunate to meet some editorial board members at the 2017 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, IL and at the 2017 Library Marketing and Communications Conference in Dallas, TX last November.

What would you say to potential authors who don’t have a background in academic writing but are interested in writing about library marketing?
Maybe start with submitting to one of our columns. Our columns are formal in tone but they are editorial reviewed, not double blind peer reviewed. I would consult some of the resources listed on our web site under author guidelines. These resources are helpful because they offer advice and tips on how to get published in a scholarly journal.

Do you have other ambitions for Marketing Libraries domain, or is the journal the sole focus at this point?
At present, the sole focus for the domain name is to host the Journal. For 2018, I am trying to get us listed in DOAJ, and indexed across many different EBSCO databases. I’m working with the Communications director and her team of officers so we can promote the Journal, solicit more submissions, and increase readership and awareness.

What other niche topics do you see in library & information science that could benefit from more scholarly examination?
I think other niche topics in LIS that might benefit from more scholarly research may be: teaching practices, curriculum design (for librarians teaching credit courses), user experience, scholarly communications, open education resources, and patron driven acquisitions.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Consider submitting to MLJ! We accept both scholarly studies and practical case studies of your marketing initiatives. Whether you devoted a year of study in a specific marketing endeavour at your library or you tried to implement a marketing campaign, we want to hear about it! Visit MLJ at to submit your work!

Networking Programs

Beyond Staff Day: Everyday employee engagement

Date: Friday, February 2nd

Time: 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Location: Indian Trails Public Library District, 355 Schoenbeck Rd, Wheeling, IL 60090

Studies show that employee engagement correlates with increased productivity and service, job satisfaction and retention of top talent. How are libraries engaging their employees and cultivating supportive staff environments in ways that go beyond team building activities at staff or inservice days?

Hear from a library who redesigned their culture along with their building, a library with an ongoing training program for staff that encourages personal and professional growth, libraries that run self-care and wellness activities for their staffs throughout the year, a library that has been among Chicago Tribune’s Top 100 workplaces 4 years in a row, and more!

Panelists will share examples of staff engagement initiatives from their libraries, followed by the chance to discuss in small groups. Participants will leave with ideas to bring back to their teams or managers.


Sharon Grimm, Staff Learning Coordinator, Oak Park Public Library

Mimosa Shah, Adult Program Coordinator, Skokie Public Library

Mary Smith, Head of Youth Services, Mount Prospect Public Library

Regina Townsend, Teen Services & Outreach Librarian, Forest Park Public Library

Ryann Uden, Deputy Director, Indian Trails Public Library District

Cost: FREE – Sponsored by Today’s Business Solutions and H.W. Wilson.

This event is intended for library staff, library professionals, and library school students.


Learn While You Earn – Sharon Grimm

Contemplative Traces, Spaces, and Failures – Mimosa Shah

Staff Recognition – Mary Smith

Regina Townsend – Mindful Staff, Meaningful Service – Regina Townsend

Culture Code Presentation – Ryann Uden

Indian Trails Public Library District’s Culture Code Statement