5 Library Super Fans Share Their Stories

Spotlight On: Tania Viramontes

Tania Viramontes has lived in Addison since she was just one year old and has been using the Addison Public Library for as long as she can remember. She has fond memories of visiting the first library building as a child.
 
“When I was little, my dad would bring us [to the library]. We would walk, when we lived near the Post Office. Later he would drive us, when we moved near Byron Park,” said Viramontes. “My parents spoke Spanish and would always try to do the best for us and get us to learn English, so they would borrow videos, audiobooks, and books that would go between English and Spanish. They were learning [English] while we were learning.”
 
Just a few years after the library’s current building was constructed in 2008, Viramontes had a family of her own to take to the library. Like Viramontes, her daughters ages 10 and 7, have been using the library since the very beginning of their lives, checking out stacks of books at every opportunity. 

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Spotlight On: Judy Belanger

Judy Belanger has lived in Addison since 1965. In her 56 years living in Addison, she spent 30 of them serving on the Addison Public Library’s Board of Trustees. Before joining the library board, Belanger often visited the original Addison library with her family, creating many memories along the way.

“The library was in the Village Hall, along with dancing lessons. Our daughter was about 5 at the time. We took her to classes and she’d tap dance down the hall to the library at the other end of the municipal building,” said Belanger. “The library was quiet, and the head librarian used to cringe every Saturday morning at the tap shoes coming down the hall.”

Belanger joined the board in 1971, just three years after the first standalone library building opened.

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Spotlight On: Rosa Biondo

Rosa Biondo recalls going to her local library in Chicago as a child with her mother, who taught herself to read in English and wanted her children to be able to do the same. Now as a parent herself, Biondo has been finding joy in watching her son John, age 8, grow up with the Addison Public Library.

“He can just exist at the library. He can be loud. He can be himself,” she said. “He loves [being at the library]. It’s really exciting to see.”

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Mary Ann Spina photoSpotlight On - Mary Ann Spina

Mary Ann Spina is an avid reader who knows firsthand that the library is more than just a building full of books.

“I think the library is one of the best things we have in Addison,” said Spina. “Even if you’re not a reader, there’s so much here, there’s such a diversity of options that you’d be hard pressed to find someone who couldn’t find anything they wanted.”

Spina is often happy to browse the materials on shelf at the library, but she quickly figured out she could lean on library staff to find items that weren’t readily available to her.

“I’m the kind of reader where I’ll go through everything an author has written. When I’m ready for the next book, I’ll go on the [library’s] website, see if the library has it. If they don’t, I’ll put in a request,” said Spina. “Sure enough, three or four days later, there it is. It’s terrific. I don’t know why people don’t use it more.”

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Spotlight On - Charlene English

Charlene English loves the Addison Public Library so much that she’ll talk enthusiastically about the library to anyone and everyone who will listen.

“I talk to so many people about the library, to the point where people have even asked me if I work there!” said English.

English is one of those patrons who interacts with the library in any way she can: she checks out materials, attends programs, and connects with library staff. Her favorite library programs that she’s attended at Addison are Chef Maddox and historical impersonator Lesley Goddard. But as a big fan of library programs, English doesn’t mind traveling to attend events at other libraries that interest her, and enjoys both online and in-person programs.

“I’ve gone as far north as Waukegan and as far south as Floosmoor for library programs, but I did virtual programs from other libraries too” said English.

When COVID-19 struck, she was steadfast in her dedication to the library, putting her library card to good use even when the library building was closed.

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