Member Spotlight - Kathy Caudill

December 20, 2021

This week's  member spotlight is on Kathy Caudill. Since 2003, Kathy Caudill has served on the board of trustees for the Ela Area Public Library District in Lake Zurich, Illinois. She is also currently the President/Manager of the Illinois Library Association’s Trustee Forum board. Kathy works in mission advancement and fundraising for a nonprofit organization. 

We asked Kathy to tell us a little bit about herself and to answer a few professional and amusing questions. Continue reading to find out more about Kathy. 

How did you get into libraries?

My parents helped develop my love of books and libraries. I remember my Mom reading a chapter a night from Little Women to my sister and me. I still hear her voice when reading March by Geraldine Brooks or anything written by Louisa May Alcott. My right-handed father encouraged his left-handed daughter to bring home a school library book about famous lefthanders. We read the book together. I don’t remember who the famous lefties were, but I have never forgotten how my Dad made me feel that day. 

Best advice you've received since starting your career in libraries?

Listen and get involved! When two friends asked me if I might be interested in running for the library board, I asked my husband what he thought about the idea. He paused for a moment and said, “I think you should run. I think you would be good at this.” That would be just the encouragement I needed – especially since that first election had seven candidates running for three positions on the board!

Any advice to newcomers working in libraries?

I highly recommend that trustees (new and “seasoned” trustees) attend trustee training programs and library conferences. Laws change, new issues arise. There is always something to learn that will benefit you, your library, and your community. The ILA Trustee Forum webpage has a wealth of materials for trustees – recorded webinars, archived Trusty Trustee newsletters and reports to the ILA Executive Board, and an excellent compilation of various Trustee resources. 

When and why did you become a member of ILA?

Our library automatically enrolled me as an ILA member when I was first elected to the board. Not all state library associations offer trustee training, so I am especially grateful that ILA offers so many trustee training opportunities including trustee training workshops, legislative meet-ups, and a Trustee track of programs at its annual conferences. As a member of ILA, I have also had the opportunity to serve on an ILA Annual Conference Committee and the fundraising committee, present programs at ILA conferences, and be a part of the Trustee Forum board for the past six years. Trustees (and library directors and library staff), I encourage you to join me in becoming an ILA member!

What's one thing you hope to accomplish as the President of the Trustee Forum?

I hope to increase the geographic diversity of the Trustee Forum board to include trustees from across the state of Illinois. Currently, our Trustee Forum board members are from suburbs of Chicago or near Peoria. We will all benefit and learn from each other, which can only help our libraries, trustees, and boards best serve our communities. The Trustee Forum board meets quarterly via Zoom, plans upcoming trustee training programs, and selects the Trustee of the Year. If you are interested in learning more about being considered to serve on the Trustee Forum Board, please complete the Forum Board Information and Interest Form.

Hardcover, paperback, e-reader, or all three?

I like all three (hardcover, paperback, e-reader) AND audio books. Audio books while driving, e-reader while flying, and hardcover or paperback books when reading at home.

Favorite author?

This is like asking which is my favorite child! I enjoy books from a variety of authors, fiction and nonfiction.

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what five books would you bring with you to pass the time until being rescued?

Not knowing how long I would remain on the island, I would want to bring the following books I have read and loved, including five works of fiction: The Dollmaker by Harriette Arnow; Beach Music by Pat Conroy; A Time to Kill by John Grisham; A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving; and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; and five works of non-fiction: Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow; The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank; Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin; The Boys on the Boat by Daniel James; and In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson. 

Cat or Dog? 

I grew up with a cat, and as an adult, I have lived with a cat and two dogs. I now know that I am definitely a dog person.

Favorite film, podcast, or television show?

I have always loved It’s a Wonderful Life. We never know how the smallest action may impact the lives of others. 

One person you would like to meet, dead or alive, and why?

It is so difficult to choose – there are so many amazing women I wish I could meet: Eleanor Roosevelt, Anne Frank, Mother Teresa, Margaret Mead, Sandra Day O’Connor, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I think the person I would like to meet most is the author, Rebecca Caudill. She led a fascinating life with many unique experiences. She may be distantly related to my husband’s family, I would like to try and verify that possible connection … and talk with her about books, libraries, her family, and her life!

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