Ridge Library director recognized for 25 yrs

By Kelly White

A woman who has worked at the Chicago Ridge Public Library for 25 years, including the past 13 as its director, was recognized for her efforts last week by the Chicago Ridge Village Board.

Chicago Ridge board of trustees on Oct. 2 voted to adopt a resolution honoring Kathleen McSwain’s quarter century of service to the library.

McSwain, who grew up in Oak Lawn and now lives in Tinley Park, worked her first day at the library — as its youth services librarian — Aug. 24, 1987 and did everything from planning the summer reading programs to leading children’s story times. She was appointed director in March 1999, and was the driving force behind the planning and design of the expansion project that added 10,000 square feet to the library. She has organized the Illinois Library Day Legislative Breakfasts at the Illinois State Library in Springfield, and in 2010 won the Illinois Library Association’s Robert McClarren Legislative Development Award for Library Advocacy.

“I love working in the library and I love the village of Chicago Ridge,” McSwain said upon receipt of the resolution.

McSwain joked she was unsure why her coworkers asked her to attend last week’s Village Board meeting, but was joyful and surprised by the resolution.

“It doesn’t even feel like that long ago when I first started working at the Chicago Ridge Library,” she added. “Time really does go by so fast.”

“I am very proud of how Kathy runs the library and I am happy to honor her with all her years of dedication and service to the library,” said Chicago Ridge Mayor Eugene Siegel.

McSwain began her library career at the Oak Lawn Public Library, then worked as the children’s librarian for six years at the Bedford Park Library before coming to Chicago Ridge. She was raised in Oak Lawn and attended St. Gerald School, and graduated from Mount Assisi Academy in Lemont. She attended Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills before graduating from Governors State University. She earned her master’s degree in library science from Dominican University in River Forest.