Deerfield library director passionate about her profession
Deerfield Public Library Director Mary Pergander has overseen the library’s $12 million renovation and 10,000 sq. ft. expansion program, | Courtesy of Deerfield Public Library
Updated: February 5, 2013 12:44PM
DEERFIELD — To work in a field one is passionate about is to not work a day in one’s life. Deerfield Public Library Director Mary Pergander is living proof of that.
Pergander knew that she wanted to be a part of the Deerfield Public Library the moment she stepped foot inside of it more than six-and-a-half years ago.
“I walked in and just had the sense that I belonged there…then, I went after the job with a white-hot passion,” Pergander said.
Since landing the job as Deerfield Library’s Director in 2006, Pergander has tirelessly worked to serve the community and improve the library’s services. Her list of duties include managing the library’s staff, educating and informing the community about services offered and coordinating with the library’s board of trustees on matters such as finances, planning and programs.
Pergander also continues to oversee the library’s $12 million renovation and 10,000 sq. ft. expansion program that was approved by village officials in Nov. 2010, and is eager to complete the project that she believes will enable the Deerfield Public Library to evolve with the highly technological times.
Q: Where do you live?
Q: Where are you originally from?
A: I grew up in the Mount Prospect and Elk Grove Village area. I haven’t moved very far over the years…I always thought I would become a Wisconsin resident, but I didn’t go that direction. I was born and raised in the north suburban area, and Grayslake is about as far north as I’ve ever lived.
Q: What got you interested in getting your degree in library sciences?
A: I’ve always loved libraries. I used to tell my friend “some day, I’ll retire from my career and become a librarian,” and she said “will you please stop saying that and either do it, or don’t do it,” so I just committed to taking the classes…it was like walking out on a plank a little bit at a time, and once I was far enough out on that plank I decided to just jump in the ocean and start swimming. Once I had taken enough library classes, I called libraries and said “I’m thinking about becoming a librarian, can I come and talk to you?” They were such interesting people, and they were open to me about becoming a librarian. I felt like there were things I could really contribute to public libraries.
Q: What inspired you to work in Deerfield?
A: I love what I do, I love being in Deerfield, and I feel so blessed to be in a community that really sees the value in libraries. I was very happy as the library director in Lake Bluff. I had been there for three years, and when a friend of mine told me that Deerfield had a position open, I decided to check it out. I left work a little early one day and went down to Deerfield, and it sounds funny, but I walked in and just had the sense that I belonged there. I think we had to do a 15-minute presentation as part of the process, and I spent 38 hours developing my 15-minute presentation because I wanted them to know that I was going to do everything I could to show them what I was capable of.
Q: What are your future career/volunteering goals?
A: In talking with a lot of my peers, it’s pretty obvious that lots of library directors leave shortly after they finish building projects—that’s absolutely not my goal. I want to stay. To me, the building project created the foundation of all that we will now be able to do for the community, and so my career goal is to stay and take it to the next level. I’ve told the board that this coming fall, they will just see an explosion of new programs, new services, new things that we can do that have been sort of on hiatus because the project has used up so much of our concentration. My career dream is to stay for a while, see what else we can offer the community to make good on their investment and make them feel like we did the right thing and help them see the value in it going forward.
Q: What were you doing before you became Director of Deerfield Public Library?
A: I had another whole life and career before I started working in libraries, and I really wanted to become a library director. I felt that I had a lot to contribute, so I went back to school and got a master’s degree in library sciences about ten years ago. My first library job was in the year 2000 at Fremont, and my first library director job was at Lake Bluff.
Q: What are you reading?
A: On my nightstand I actually have three of those de-cluttering books. You would think that the message about de-cluttering would mean I’d have fewer things, but I think that having three on my nightstand should be a big sign to me that something needs to change!
Q: What is your favorite movie?
A: The Wizard of Oz! I love the Wizard of Oz: I quote it and have the songs on my Ipod.
Q: What’s on your iPod?
A: I have Andrea Bocelli on there. I also love authentic, ancient Celtic music, and I just downloaded the new Bruno Mars album “Unorthodox Jukebox.”