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Homewood’s ‘not-by-the-book’ librarian retires

An open house receptiwas held Homewood Public Library Sunday January 6 2013 honor Cindy Rauch (center) who is retiring after

An open house reception was held at the Homewood Public Library Sunday, January 6, 2013 in honor of Cindy Rauch (center) who is retiring after 30 years of service, the last 17 of which were spent as the Administrative Librarian. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 21, 2013 6:06AM



Cindy Rauch is not your grandmother’s librarian.

She is 55 and is retiring after 30 years of service to the Homewood Public Library, but Rauch hopes she has created a legacy that will reflect the risk-taker in her.

“Even though I’m in a building that’s almost all books, I don’t do that much by the book,” Rauch said.

That style of management has worked well for Rauch, who served as administrative librarian the last 17 years. It’s always been a part of who she is.

Rauch’s rise from desk clerk in 1982 to become the children’s librarian several years later was accomplished without a degree in library science. Instead, Rauch convinced the administrative librarian at the time to “give me a shot,” Rauch said.

“There was very little premeditated thought in my mind,” Rauch said. “That’s an opportunity, and I took it.”

Rauch went on to earn a degree in library science from Northern Illinois University and became the administrative librarian in 1995, always striving to fit the needs of the community.

Rauch said she feels comfortable retiring, knowing her staff — some new, some seasoned — will continue to practice a philosophy that embraces change and growth in a community she loves.

“People here are encouraged to always do new things and to find new ways to do them,” Rauch said. “That’s what I hope my legacy will be because it’s really what the library world needs.”

Thirty years ago, Rauch said she was facing a changing world in which technology soon would rule. Rauch said being open to that change allowed the library to flourish.

“I don’t know that I embraced it at first, but I had two librarians in grad school, and they were ‘getting it.’ They sat me down and started to demo it to me,” Rauch said about the early computer and email information she learned, which has evolved into the mobile, web-based, multimedia facility she leaves behind.

“We got on the bandwagon pretty early,” Homewood Library Board President Amy Eagle said. “Rauch really teed us up to move forward.”

Eagle said there’s more to Rauch than her ability to run the library like a well-oiled machine, though.

“She’s created an atmosphere that patrons love,” Eagle said. “Any time someone says they have a really great idea, she listens.”

Elaine Egdorf, Homewood Historical Society board member, agreed, saying Rauch’s ability to run with new ideas has helped make the library a vital part of the village.

“She helped bring in a lot of culture you might not see in other places in the community,” Egdorf said. “She’s going to be a tough act to follow.”

While Rauch is ready to give up the reins, she isn’t planning to fade away.

She hopes to maintain a presence at the library as a volunteer when she is not baby-sitting for her granddaughter, Brook Lynne, or enjoying retirement with her husband, Gary, at their home in Tinley Park.

Even when she’s not at the library, there will be a continual reminder of Rauch’s service. A story-hour room in the children’s department has been named the “Rauch Reading Room” with plans to incorporate commemorative artwork by Homewood artist Jennie Bohlman.

After 30 years, Rauch said, the time is right to retire.

Her 1995 vision — “to earn 100 percent customer satisfaction ... to explore new avenues ... to join the technological revolution ... to bring the library into the 21st century” — has been achieved, she believes.

“I think I did it,” Rauch said. “I think it’s time to say goodbye and thank you.”



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