Member Spotlight - Dawn Bussey

July 8, 2024

This week's member spotlight is on Dawn Bussey. Dawn is the director of the Glen Ellyn Public Library. She is a Director-at-Large on the ILA Executive Board, a member of the ILA Finance Committee, and the board liaison to the ILA Diversity Committee.

We asked Dawn to answer a few professional and amusing questions. Continue reading to find out more about Dawn.

A little background on Dawn:

I have my MLS from Dominican University and my BA in American Studies from Knox College. I worked in retail for 10 years before completing my MLS and starting my library career. Now I have been working in the library field for over 25 years. I worked at both the Schaumburg Township District Library and the River Forest Public Library, and I am currently the Director of the Glen Ellyn Public Library. I am a Past President of the Rotary Club of Glen Ellyn and now serve as a member of the Illinois Library Association Board, the Glen Ellyn Chamber Board, and the Glen Ellyn Downtown Alliance Board. In my free time, I like to entertain friends and family and of course read books! 

How did you get your start in libraries?

While I was working retail, I took a course at the College of DuPage where you completed a variety of skills and aptitude tests, and the tests suggested the library profession. That coupled with the fact that my best friend from college was already working as a librarian and when she would share information about her day at work I was intrigued. 

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

Don't be afraid to make an ask. The worst thing someone can tell you is no.

Any advice to newcomers working in libraries? 

The library of tomorrow should look different than the library of today. The organization should be changing and adapting to provide and fulfill the wants and needs of its community. 

When and why did you become a member of ILA?

I joined ILA for professional growth. I wanted to meet other library professionals outside of the library in which I worked. I wanted to learn more about what other libraries were doing and how they were doing it. 

How has being a member of ILA helped you professionally? 

Through my membership in ILA, attendance at conferences and now participation on the board, I have met other librarians and library staff from all over the state. This has allowed me to develop a large, robust, and diversified professional network. 

What is your proudest professional achievement to date?

My proudest professional achievement to date occurred just recently when the Glen Ellyn Public Library was voted by members of the community as the Chamber of Commerce Service Organization of the Year. 

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

Well that depends. Audiobooks are great when I am working around the house or in the yard. However, has to be a paperback when I am lounging in the pool and reading. It is easier to dry out a paperback if it gets wet!

Favorite authors?

Ah, I can't pick just one. I will say I read a lot of historical fiction, some non-fiction, some biographies and I enjoy lighthearted chick-lit for vacation. 

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

I have been wanting to reread some of my high school reading list as an adult.

  • Catcher in the Rye
  • Of Mice and Men
  • 1984
  • The Great Gatsby
  • Brave New World

Cat or Dog?


Favorite film, podcast, or television show? 

The film I have watched over and over again is White Christmas. Watching it has been a part of my annual Christmas tradition since I was a small child watching it with my mom as we wrapped gifts. This is a tradition I carry on to this day. 

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

Abraham Lincoln. I would love to hear him tell the story of his life from boyhood to the assassination. I have always been intrigued by his presidency and the politics of that time period and what better way to learn more than to speak with a primary source.       

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