The Barrington Area Library stands in solidarity with the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Hate crimes against Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders have been on the rise in America over the past year, adding to the systemic injustice this population already experiences. We grieve for lives senselessly lost and the ongoing trauma felt by other victims and their loved ones.

As a library, we believe one of the strongest tools in the fight against discrimination and intolerance is education. Empathy and understanding flourish when we open ourselves up to everyone’s stories, voices, and experiences.

The Barrington Area Library is committed to furthering its own knowledge and ability to act as an open, equitable institution. Libraries are for everyone and all are welcome here.

Fostering lifelong learning is a central part of our mission. If you are interested in further self-education on these issues, we have compiled a list of resources to deepen understanding of the AAPI experience, ranging from online resources to books available for checkout.

Resources And Reading Lists

Web Resources:
Asian Americans Advancing Justice

Becoming an Upstander

Be The Change Barrington

Videos from the Courageous Community series:
Confronting Prejudice | With Jenan Mohajir, includes how to intervene safely and effectively

Becoming America | With Eric Liu of Citizen University and Aspen Institute

Love, Anger, & Apology | With Valarie Kaur, author of See No Stranger

The Barrington Area Library began welcoming customers back into the building on Monday, March 1, 2021, for browse and borrow services.

“Browse and borrow” is our way of reorganizing the Library for:

  • quick, convenient visits,
  • a great selection of books, movies, and more,
  • efficient, friendly service,
  • all in a safe and clean environment.

What can customers expect during this phase of the Library’s reopening?

Per Illinois Executive Order 2020-32 and Library policy, all Library staff and customers over the age of two years must wear a face covering over their mouth and nose while inside the Library and at outdoor events. If you aren’t able to wear a face covering, please contact us so we can find the best way to assist you.

Please note the following temporary in-person service hours:
Monday - Friday: 10 AM to 6 PM
Saturday: 9 AM to 5 PM
Sunday: 1 to 5 PM

Additional virtual hours and services: Staff will also be available for phone, chat, and email assistance from 9 AM to 9 PM on weekdays, 9 AM to 5 PM on Saturdays, and 1 to 5 PM on Sundays. Appointments may be scheduled for virtual one-on-one assistance. Most Library programs and events will be online, throughout the week.

NEW: Tables and chairs now available for use on the Library's second floor

Need a place to sit and work or study? Request a chair at the second floor Reference Desk and then choose one of ten tables available on first come, first served basis. All tables are on the second floor. Please note: no more than four people at a table at one time; your mask must be worn over your mouth and nose at all times; food is not allowed in the Library at this time. When you are finished, please return your chair to the Reference Desk for cleaning.

Pick-Up and Delivery Options that work for you:

BALibrary cardholders may:

Customers who enjoy browsing may request a new Browsing Bundle of books or movies.

April 2021: Barrington Area Library cardholders may now use our Interlibrary Loan borrowing service. At this time, we are only borrowing from Illinois libraries, and items will be quarantined for 24 hours.

Computers and Technology:
Customers may use:

  • Wi-Fi;
  • Simple Scan stations (scan, save, fax, email, and more);
  • Remote Web Printing (send print jobs to the Library and then come inside to print);
  • Library Catalog/15 Minute Express Internet stations (quick searching);
  • Business & Tech center computers: customers may reserve for one hour, and renew for a second hour, if available;
  • BALibrary cardholders may submit 3-D print jobs and complete laser-cutting projects to our Digital Services team.

Visit the computers/Internet and MakerLab pages for more details. Printing/copying/scanning will no longer be available for Parking Lot Pick-Up, and normal fees for printing will be reinstated.

In order to provide the safest experience possible, some Library services and facilities will not be available during this phase. These include:

  • Youth Services play areas and interactives. Visit our online Events Calendar and Youth Services blog for take-home activity kits and virtual programs.
  • Youth Services computers and iPads.
  • Meeting Rooms and Zimmerman Room. Study Rooms, Conference Room, Business Cubicles, Studio Kids, Studio 1.
  • Indoor Library programs. Browse our online Events Calendar for outstanding virtual events for all ages.
  • Newspapers & Newsletters - there is no way to disinfect these items between uses, so they will not be available during this phase. This is a great time to try PressReader - free online access to thousands of newspapers and magazines, including the Chicago Tribune. Magazines will be available for checkout.
  • In-person one-on-one appointments.

We know this experience will seem different from the Barrington Area Library you know and love. We will continue to research best practices and seek out the advice of state and local health care authorities, in order to offer expanded services to our community in the future, in the safest environment possible.

Vicki Rakowski, new Executive Director of the Barrington Area Library
Vicki Rakowski, current Head of Operations for the Barrington Area Library, will step into a new role as the Library’s Executive Director on February 13. She will replace Jesse Henning, who has served as Executive Director since April 2018. Henning is leaving the Library and heading to Denmark to pursue an exciting opportunity for his family.

“We are very pleased to name Ms. Rakowski as our new Executive Director,” said Library Board of Trustees President Don Minner. “With her knowledge and experience, we expect that she will step into the role seamlessly while providing the leadership to ensure that our talented and dedicated staff continue to meet the varied needs of our patrons and community.”

Rakowski has been in the library profession for 13 years, receiving a Masters in Library and Information Science from Dominican University in 2010. She began her career in Youth Services, then moved into a series of management positions, joining the Barrington Area Library team in January 2017. As Head of Operations in Barrington, she has overseen the Customer Service, Material Services, and Building Services departments, and served as Interim Director from October 2017 – April 2018. She also has an MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University.

“I am truly honored to be the next director of the Barrington Area Library. I look forward to leading our staff through the difficult times we face at present, as well as the challenges and opportunities in our future. The four years I have spent in this organization have shown me time and again that this is a special library in a special community. I am proud to continue my work here in this new role.”

Rakowski is an avid reader and gardener. She is a lifelong resident of the Chicago area, and currently resides with her husband in Oak Park.

The Library and its Board of Trustees extend their sincere gratitude to Henning for his leadership and service, which included significant achievements such as the elimination of overdue fines, the completion of critical maintenance projects for the building and campus, and the introduction of updated library policies to expand access to more area residents.

Board President Minner stated, “While saddened that Director Henning is leaving us, we extend our best wishes for success in his next endeavor and thank him for his many accomplishments, guidance to our staff, and efforts for our district.”

"It has been an honor serving this community,” said Henning. “From my first day on the job, I have been awed and amazed by the level of civic and social engagement among Barrington area residents and how this library plays an important role in supporting that community spirit. I am proud to have worked with a staff so fiercely dedicated to providing efficient, effective, and transformative library service. The Barrington Area Library is truly a special place and I am glad to have played a part in writing its story."


The Barrington Area Library is pleased to release its Annual Report for the fiscal year 2019-2020.

Read the report online to learn how the Library makes space - physically and virtually - to connect district residents with learning opportunities, fun and enriching community events, myriad local non-profit and volunteer organizations, and perhaps most importantly, with each other.

The Youth Services staff have picked their favorite books published in 2020 for ages 0-13. We hope you and your family find some new favorites here, too!