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After 25 Years, Barrington Area Library Board President Steps Down

After 25 years of serving as President of the Barrington Area Library Board of Trustees, Richard J. Ryan stepped down from the position on Tuesday, May 10. Ryan is succeeded in his role as president by fellow trustee Lawrence J. Weiner who has served on the board since 1998.

Weiner said of Ryan, "He deserves all the accolades that have been awarded him. He has been with the library through so much of its history and has been an extraordinary, visionary leader. I have some big shoes to fill."

Executive Director of the Barrington Area Library, Detlev Pansch said, "We are all very appreciative of Mr. Ryan. He was here when the library moved to its current location in 1978. From before then to now, he has loved this library and been an active part of decisions that have made this library what it is. He has always had the best interests of the community at heart."

Talking to Richard J. Ryan and listening to his stories is a lesson in the library's history. He remembers the ground breaking of the library's current building in 1976 and how the Barrington community referred to the library as a "Bicentennial Library." The doors of the library at its current location officially opened in 1978 after the groundbreaking, and Ryan remembers those early days.

"A few of us got together - friends of mine and staff who could help out - to assemble shelves so the library would be ready for its grand opening."

Ryan shares another memory of the grand opening of the library at its current location: "Sometime along the line I got a passkey and while the building was being built, I would come in on Sundays to check things out. Back then the library was closed on Sundays, so I would use my pass key to go in. I came in one Sunday, using my passkey, as I had done before - what did I know - the next thing, the Barrington police was there. It turns out the burglar alarm had been installed, and I got to be the first to set it off."

Ryan has served as a trustee for the Barrington Area Library for a total of 32 years, 25 of those years serving as president. He first moved to Barrington in 1959, and remembers that he couldn't belong to the library as the actual district wasn't established until 1967. Ryan ran for and won a spot on the library board for the first time in 1974 for a six year term. He was absent from the board 1980-1983, but returned in 1984 with an appointment, and has served on the board since then. Though stepping down from his position as president, Ryan will continue his term as trustee through 2015.

In addition to serving on the Barrington Area Library as a trustee, Richard J. Ryan has worked as an Electrical Engineer having graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology, he served in the Vietnam War, and after the war, opened and ran his own financial consultant business in Barrington.

As to what he'll do in his free time now that he has stepped down as president:

"I kind of need this time. I can keep up, but it takes me longer to do things now. I'll be able to clean the house a little more often and do other things more than I do. I'm not getting that much extra free time. I'll still be busy as a trustee and I'll still be into reading, so I'll be at the library. Everyone will still be seeing me."