Although a referendum to pay for a new library in Brookfield is at a minimum 18 months away, an official campaign committee was formed this summer to advocate for passing such a referendum.

On Aug. 1, a Statement of Organization for a campaign committee called Growing Your Library was registered with the Illinois State Board of Elections. The campaign committee was started with an initial contribution of $5,000 from the Brookfield Friends of the Library.

The chairwoman of the campaign committee is Linda Mack-Tillotson, a member of the Friends of Library and the mother of library board president Jennifer Mack Perry. The treasurer of the campaign committee, Robert Akbarally, is also a member of the Friends of the Library.

The library board has agreed on a preliminary plan for a new library building that would cost around $10 million to build. Perry said the very earliest that the library board would seek to pass a referendum to pay for a new building would be 2016, and could well be later, but the campaign committee was formed now just to be ready when the time comes for a referendum.

“I don’t know about 2016; it’s the earliest,” Perry said. “You have to do all these things in advance. You have to be prepared. We have to plan ahead.”

The campaign committee is not actively soliciting contributions, Perry said. 

Plans for a new library building must be finalized, and the plans still need to be approved by the village board.

Internet hotspots available for checkout

Don’t have Internet access at home? Need it? 

Well if you have a Brookfield Public Library card you can check out a 4G mobile hotspot from the Brookfield Public Library. It’s the latest attempt by the Brookfield Public Library to bridge the digital divide. 

Mobile hotspots are small portable devices that you plug into an electrical outlet. The hotspot enables wireless devices to connect to the Internet. The library’s hotspots can accommodate eight users or Wi-Fi devices at a time with no bandwidth limitations, according to a library press release.

The library’s hotspots can be checked out for one week at a time. Library card holders must sign a waiver and provide a photo ID before being allowed to check out one of the library’s 10 hotspots.

All 10 portable hotspots were checked out last week in their first week of availability.

“I think it’s pretty exciting and I think people will really like it,” Perry said. 

The Brookfield Public Library has been in the forefront of bringing technology to its cardholders. The library has offered laptop computers for checkout since 2010. Now a cardholder can get connected to the Internet using library equipment from anywhere for a week at a time at no cost.

The library was able to buy all 10 mobile hot spots for the discounted price of $1,290, because it worked through TechSoup and Mobile Beacon, nonprofit groups which help libraries and other nonprofits purchase technology in an attempt to provide access to the Internet to everyone.