Member Spotlight - Megan Millen

September 19, 2022

This week's member spotlight is on Megan Millen. Megan was previously the ILA Treasurer and an ILA Executive Board Director-at-Large, as well as a member of the ILA Best Practices and Finance Committees. We asked Megan to tell us a little bit about herself and answer a few professional and amusing questions. Continue reading to find out more about Megan. 

A little background on Megan

Megan Millen has been the Executive Director of Joliet Public Library, serving a City of 150,000 people, since November 2016.  Prior to that she was Director of the Flossmoor Public Library for 14 years. In her 27 years as a public library librarian, Megan has made relevancy and forward thinking top priorities. 

Megan’s five-year term on the Executive Board of the Illinois Library Association has just ended.  She serves on the Executive Board of the Joliet City Center Partnership and is the current Past Chair. She is a member of the Joliet Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Board as well as the Joliet Rotary Executive Board.  She believes that public libraries need a seat at every table.

In 2008, she co-founded ATLAS, Area Training for Librarians and Staff, a continuing education organization centered in the south and southwest suburbs of Chicago, which continues strongly to this day. 

How did you get your start in libraries?

My mother found me a job as a page in my local branch library in upstate New York and I started three days after my 16th birthday.

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

Pick your battles.  Not every ditch is worth dying in. 

Any advice to newcomers working in libraries?

Try not to get bogged down in process and small annoyances and instead embrace the joy of the work whenever you can. 

When and why did you become a member of ILA?

I attended my first ILA conference while I was in library school and not even working in a library yet.  As soon as I got hired at my first library job, I requested a membership.  This was in 1995. 

How has being a member of ILA helped you professionally? 

Being a member of ILA has helped me to grow my network from a handful of people in 1995 to hundreds of colleagues and friends over my 27-year career.  I have learned so much by interacting with so many.  

What is your proudest professional achievement to date?

Acquiring the funding to renovate Joliet Public Library’s historic downtown building built in 1903 by architect Daniel Burnham.  The $10.5 Million renovation has been the highlight of my career. 

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

Paperback is my favorite for reading but I listen to audiobooks every day on my commute. 

Favorite author?

Agatha Christie

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

  • Lord of the Rings Trilogy - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
  • Gone with the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
  • Dune - Frank Herbert
  • A Brief History of Time- Stephen Hawking

Cat or Dog?

I have both, but I have always been a cat person and prefer cats. 

Favorite film, podcast, or television show?

Star Trek the Next Generation

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

Architect Daniel Burnham.  He has been my idol since I read Devil in the White City and I am thrilled to work in a building he designed.  All through the roller coaster ride of the funding approval process, I felt like I was channeling him.  I’d love to discuss the concept of making no little plans with him.  

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