In 1973, Vernon Area Public Library service began on a test basis in a classroom at Adlai Stevenson High School. The area was just starting to see growth around this time: in 1970, the combined population of Lincolnshire, Buffalo Grove, and Vernon Hills was just under 16,000 people. Today it exceeds 78,000.

The trial library proved popular and it moved to its first standalone home in May 1974. By 1990, the population had grown sufficiently to warrant a bigger building. In September of 1993, construction of the new library, just steps away, was completed. This building, the library's current home, offers 50,000 square feet of space with a pie-slice design that affords plenty of natural light and room for amenities like
study rooms and a media lab. The library's first building, now called "The Annex," is still in use, providing 10,000 square feet of office and programming space.

Today the Vernon Area Public Library District (VAPLD) serves approximately 42,000 people who live, own property, or own a business in the district. The service area includes all of Lincolnshire and Prairie View, plus parts of Buffalo Grove, Long Grove, Riverwoods, and Vernon Hills. During FY2019 (the last full pre-pandemic fiscal year), it operated with a staff of 70.63 FTE and annual revenue of nearly $7.3 million.

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The library presented 1,475 programs or events that year, attended by about 47,600 people. Pandemic offerings have included outdoor concerts, streaming story times, and other creative ideas. VAPLD often partners with other area libraries in presenting special events or joint reading programs, and offers high-quality online events through its membership in Illinois Libraries Present.

In FY2019, approximately 1,093,000 items were circulated, including about 761,000 physical materials and 332,000 digital downloads.

The library's physical collection includes approximately 151,000 books, 14,600 audio items, 16,800 videos, and 304 serial collections. Reflecting the diverse community it serves, VAPLD has an
extraordinary breadth of materials in an astonishing number of languages. Browsing bundles, puzzles, themed kits, and technology devices are also available for checkout.

The digital collection is made up of 19,100 e-books, 9,200 audio items, 2,900 videos, and 49 databases. Additional
digital items can be streamed or used via cooperative borrowing agreements.

The library is governed by a seven member publicly elected
Board of Trustees. VAPLD is a member of Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS), one of two multi-type regional library systems in Illinois. RAILS serves approximately 1,300 public, private, academic, and special libraries throughout northern and western Illinois.


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Photo attributions: Vernon Area Public Library District