Board Members

Sandy West Sandy West

President
Academic Library Representative

I have a love for reading and would love when I grow up to become a professional book reviewer for some of my favorite authors like James Patterson, Tess Gerritsen, etc. My passion then extends to the work I perform at Rend Lake College, where I find it a value to share the knowledge of library resources with our students, staff, and faculty. To further support those efforts I believe in the IHLS board and IHLS staff’s commitment to bringing library resources to the communities IHLS serves.
Sarah Isaacs Sarah Isaacs

Vice President
Special Library Representative

Libraries have always been a part of my life. I have volunteered or worked in just about every kind of library you can imagine. Currently, I am the director of a special library that serves families in Illinois who have a child with developmental delays or special needs. In this library and all libraries, I believe providing resources opens doors.
Tina Hubert Tina Hubert

Treasurer
Public Library Representative

I've been a library-geek since I was a very young child; and interestingly enough I'm in the same library now as I was then (Granite City is my hometown). I've worked in libraries across Illinois for almost - gasp - 30 years! It is my honor and privilege to try to support and contribute as much as possible to all types of libraries, because all types of libraries have added so much to my life both personally and professionally.
Geoffrey Bant Geoffrey Bant

Public Library Trustee

I was born in the north of England and came to Chicago in 1957. My elementary school was named after Bernard Moose who pioneered libraries in the Chicago Schools. My work life has always been connected with the printed word as a typesetter, newspaper production manager and director of Printing at the University of Illinois. I am also a potter and after retirement from the University I ran a pottery studio for the Champaign Park District for many years. Before paper was developed clay tablets were used for thousands of years to record words and thoughts. I am now a full-time special education aide in the Urbana Schools. I acquired a Library Science degree in the 1980s and worked in many of the libraries at the U of I. I have been a member of the Urbana Free Library board for several years. I believe libraries are the most important cultural institutions we have and should be developed and guarded for the sake of our democracy, our economy and our future.
Mary Beil Mary Beil

School Library Representative

I have been a school librarian for twenty-two years, and eighteen years have been as the district librarian for Lebanon CUSD#9. I have taken my passion for reading and shared it with a countless number of students. I believe that libraries have the ability to be whatever a person needs it to be… a safe haven, an imagination place, a learning environment, or a social gathering area. I am excited about being part of the IHLS family.
Gary Denue Gary Denue

Public Library Trustee

My first experience with a library happened in the 4th grade on my way home from school. I disobeyed my parents and crossed the road to the town hall where in the basement resided our local public library. An amazing adventure opened up to me on that day. Since that time I have been involved in advocacy for libraries both as an academic librarian and a trustee of both a public library and a library system. I retired as Associate Dean of Library and Information Services at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2010. I currently serve as a trustee of the Edwardsville Public Library and in the early 1990's was on the Board of Directors of the Lewis and Clark Library System. I am a strong proponent of cooperation, resource sharing and technology as means to strengthen individual libraries and the communities they serve. Apart from my love of reading and service to my local library and IHLS, you can catch me fly fishing anywhere in North America.
Deborah Owen Deborah Owen

Public Library Trustee

As far back as I can remember, libraries have been part of my life. Whether it was the weekly visits to our local branch that my family made when I was growing up in Evanston, IL, the wonderful school libraries I was lucky enough to have access to or spending hours getting sublimely lost in the campus libraries at the University of Illinois. It was there that I made a decision to spend my working life as a librarian. I got my MLS and went on to work at Washington University, Belleville PL and finally became director at Fairview Heights PL (a position that I held for 31 years). I believe that libraries of all kinds are an important part of our democracy (see ALA’s democracy statement)
Clyde Hall Clyde Hall

Public Library Trustee

As the area I grew up in was not part of a library district, my mother paid the considerable out-of-district fee so that I could have books all summer long and material for research during school years. I read much and often to make her investment a good one, and it taught me the value of the library as a resource. I serve as a Public Library Trustee in Mt. Vernon and on IHLS to preserve and ensure that resource continues for others.
Gary Jones Gary Jones

Public Library Trustee

Beverly Obert Beverly Obert

Public Library Trustee

I love libraries and all the things I can explore and learn about in them. I have worked in public libraries and in the systems. Being a trustee allows me to help libraries remain strong and vital for others to explore.
John Phillips John Phillips

Public Library Trustee

I am currently the President of the Decatur Public Library Board of Trustees and a 4th year board member. My education consists of a BS & MS in Engineering from the University of Michigan and a MBA from the University of Chicago. I have 25 years working in manufacturing management and food manufacturing, 7 years as a corporate officer for major corporations in addition to 18 years as a small business owner. I have been married 35 years, have 2 children and 6 grandchildren. Reading has been the family passion throughout our life.
Charlene Topel Charlene Topel

Public Library Trustee

The enjoyment of reading for entertainment and information has been central to my life. For a number of years this pursuit was channeled to helping others as a member of the staff of a public library. Serving on the IHLS board has expanded my goal and responsibility to provide information by means of books and technology to the public of Illinois
Sara Zumwalt Sara Zumwalt

Public Library Representative

I have been a patron of the Litchfield Library since I was a young girl. Now I am the director. I feel that libraries are the heart of every community, and I am proud to be a part of IHLS as we strive to serve libraries and communities of all sizes.
Tiffany Droege Tiffany Droege

School Library Representative

When I was six years old, my mom decided to go back to school to finish her degree. My dad worked long hours as a salesman, so if she needed to study at the library, I had to tag along. While she worked I wandered the stacks, indulging every curiosity, ever whim, every fantasy. I would gather stacks of books, plop down in a corner, and conduct in-depth investigations on topics like folk art, comparative religion, and ancient Greece. It was in those stacks that I developed a true love of learning, a lifelong insatiable curiosity that lead me to study language arts, education, and instructional technology at SIUE. I taught English for ten years at Collinsville High School, but I always knew I'd wind up back in the library. My current home is the Roxana School District, where I serve as district library media specialist. It's an honor to serve on the board to help ensure that our libraries not only survive, but thrive.
Susan Pennington Susan Pennington

School Library Representative

From the time I was a little girl, I loved visiting the library. It was a small portion my hometown’s community building. I loved the ornate wood trim, the fireplace (yes, it had a fireplace although it was never lit!), the smell, and most of all the librarian! She was always warm and welcoming! While I was not, perhaps, the most avid reader back then, I still loved books. This love of books grew over time and during college I worked in my campus library as part of the technology department and learned that libraries were way more than just books! After teaching high school English for many years, I returned to school to earn my license as a school librarian. My love of books- in all forms: digital, audio, and physical- has grown exponentially. Young adult fiction is my absolute favorite, so I’m well placed as a high school librarian! Encouraging teens to read and helping them find just the right book is very rewarding! Bridging the gap between public libraries and school libraries is a high priority for me, and l look forward to working on the IHLS board to learn all I can to promote libraries.