Family's postcards help bring Schaumburg's history to life
When Kathy Reynolds of Roselle first connected with Schaumburg Township District Library's Local History Librarian Jane Rozek about 10 years ago, she wasn't quite sure what to expect.
"I knew nothing about Jane when I first met her," Kathy said. "But, as it turns out, she could probably tell me things about my family that I don't even know. She's learned so much about Schaumburg over the years."
Jane has worked at Schaumburg Library for more than 35 years, and she and Kathy agree on at least one thing: Preservation is important.
"Few people are alive anymore to actually remember those early times of Schaumburg's history," Kathy said.
"People might not think about it, but there's a history to Schaumburg and Spring Valley and the area. I just thought it would be neat if someone else could appreciate the things that my family experienced."
For her first meeting with Jane, Kathy brought with her some old family photos and diary entries from her grandmother, Estelle Link, wife of Adolph Link, namesake of Link Elementary School.
"The diary was not detailed," Kathy said, "but there was an entry for almost every day. Jane was thrilled to read those."
Kathy noted that we often have lots of historical information about big events. And while that's certainly important, what about the day-to-day?
"I'm really interested in everyday life and the routine. How people spent their time and what they did," Kathy said. "What was your school like? What did you cook? What did you do on a Tuesday -- any Tuesday?"
Grandma Link's diary and family photos of their land and home helped answer these questions for Kathy, and shed some more light on Schaumburg's history for Jane.
More recently, when Kathy came across more of her grandfather's things, she knew just what to do.
"I came back to the library with my brother and those items," Kathy said. "We sat across from Jane, handing her items. She'd look at each item carefully and ask us questions."
Jane was particularly interested in hand-drawn cards Kathy's Grandpa Link created each year to send season's greetings to their family and friends. Kathy brought in more than 20 cards that inspired a whole series of posts on Jane's local history blog titled "History of Schaumburg Township."
"I felt like Jane was genuinely interested in me and my family," Kathy said. "She was pleasant and curious and asked so many great questions that got us thinking. It was like sitting down with somebody who wanted to know more about me and my family. And it just so happened to contribute to the history of Schaumburg."
Kathy's appointment with Jane is what the library calls Book a Librarian. Whether you're interested in preserving local history, like Kathy, have a detailed research project you'd like help with, are looking to grow your small business or want to improve your tech skills, Schaumburg Library's librarians are ready and available to help with 1:1 meetings tailored to suit your particular needs.
Get started at SchaumburgLibrary.org/book-librarian.
• Hollis Sienkiewicz is the director of Marketing and Communications at the Schaumburg Township District Library. You can reach her at email@example.com.