Member Spotlight - Monica Boyer

November 13, 2023

This week's member spotlight is on Monica Boyer. Monica is the Senior Manager of Children Services at Aurora Public Library District and currently serves on the ILA Executive Board as a Director-at-Large.

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

A little background on Monica

Monica Boyer is the Senior Manager of Children Services at Aurora Public Library District. In her current role, she provides strategy and oversight for children’s services throughout APLD’s four branch locations.

Monica currently serves on ILA’s Executive Board as a Director-at-Large and Bartlett Public Library District’s Board of Trustees as their Ethics Officer. She is also part of ILA’s Library Trustee Forum and an ALA Spectrum Scholar. She lives in Bartlett with her husband, son, senior dog and collection of children’s picture books (The count is at 400 titles).  

How did you get your start in libraries?

I was the kid who was constantly being escorted out the library for being too young to be in the library by herself. I continued to frequent the same branch location throughout my childhood. In high school, I volunteered at the same location where I was ultimately offered a part time position. The rest is history. A huge shout out to Gail Tobin at Schaumburg Township District Library for recognizing I was a kid who just wanted to be at the library and giving me a safe space to grow.  

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

"La comunidad es todo”. From an early age, my mom instilled in me that community is everything. When making a decision regarding collections and services, I constantly ask myself how this will help folks in our community.  

Any advice to newcomers working in libraries? 

  • Never stop learning. We are in a profession that is evolving, and we need to evolve with it. 
  • Get to know the community you are serving. Go to a village/town/city board meeting and meet key community members who are heavily involved in the community you serve.  
  • Find a mentor (or mentors). These folks will be the people who you can ask for professional advice and a safe soundboard. Be sure to pick up the check when you go out for lunch.  

When and why did you become a member of ILA?

Libraries in Illinois have always been part of my life. Being part of ILA was a no brainer. ILA offers professional development opportunities and a large network of library professionals to learn from.  

How has being a member of ILA helped you professionally? 

ILA has helped me in every season of my professional career. In 2016, I was honored to be awarded the Sylvia Murphy Williams Award and became a student member of ILA. During that time, ILA paired me up with Trixie Dantis, my first mentor who still mentors me to this day.

In 2018, I was part of ILA’s first Elevate Illinois Libraries Leadership Program. I learned a lot about who I was as a leader because of that program. In 2022, ILA welcomed me as part of their Executive Board. Have I expressed how much I appreciate ILA? 

What is your proudest professional achievement to date?

Mentoring library staff. I can’t wait to see all they are going to bring to the profession. Being part of the 2022 Caldecott Award Selection Committee was cool too.  

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

Hardcover, especially for picture books. Audiobooks for leisure.  

Favorite authors?

Octavia Butler, Grace Lin, Yuyi Morales, and Sandra Cisneros.  

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

  • Matilda by Roald Dahl  
  • La Mujer Habitada by Gioconda Belli 
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 
  • Ghost Stories of Old New Orleans by Jeanna deLavigne  
  • Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola  

Cat or Dog?

Dogs forever. Charlie, my 11-year-old Maltipoo, is the best and a menace to society.  

Favorite film, podcast, or television show? 

Podcasts, especially How to Talk to People by The Atlantic. I recommend the episode titled, “The Infrastructure of Community.”

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

Ezra Jack Keats. I read The Snowy Day when I was 5 years old, and it completely changed my life. I remember being so captivated by Keat’s use of gouache, watercolor and marbled paper. It cemented the idea that art isn’t just in museums. It’s everywhere.  

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