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NewsTribune photo/Chris Yucus Outgoing La Salle Public Library director Laura Frizol (left) works with incoming director Cristy Stupegia on a children’s book order Wednesday at the library. A reception for both of them is planned for 2-4 p.m. Sunday.
Reception Sunday for librarians
La Salle Public Library Board of Trustees will host a reception to say farewell to outgoing library director Laura Frizol and to greet incoming director Cristy Stupegia. When: 2-4 p.m. Sunday, May 18 Where: La Salle Public Library, 305 Marquette St. For more information: (815) 223-2341
Cristy Foes Stupegia describes taking the job as director of La Salle Public Library as “a homecoming.”
Originally from Sheffield, Stupegia worked on a state committee for Illinois Public Library with outgoing director Laura Frizol for several years. So when Frizol was ready to move on from La Salle, she knew Stupegia would like to move from Sparta — southeast of St. Louis, more than 250 miles away from La Salle — to be closer to home.
Stupegia has worked for the Shawnee Library System in southern Illinois and for the Morris Library at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. After marrying her husband, John, she lived with him in Sparta and was the director of Sparta Public Library for around 9½ years before coming to La Salle at the end of April.
As a high school student, Stupegia worked at Sheffield Public Library, but chose to study history in college.
“I think I was like a lot of people — I didn’t really know what I wanted to do,” she said.
She remembers that while working on a research project during her senior year at Northern Illinois University, a professor arranged for her to visit the closed stacks at the University of Illinois’ library.
Typically, undergraduates were not permitted to be there, so for Stupegia, it was like visiting “the Mecca,” she said.
“Another student and I walked in, and they said, ‘How can I help you?’ And that’s where I fell in love with it — they were knocking themselves out to help us,” Stupegia said.
She said she was inspired by the question of “How do people get their information?”
“I think what we do — especially in public libraries — we’re a lifelong university,” Stupegia said. “For some people, we are it. We might be their only access to the Internet — or even a book.”
Now, Stupegia works with Frizol until May 30, Frizol’s final day at the library.
Frizol was La Salle’s library director for 16 years. The highlight of her time here, she said, was the building’s addition and the renovation of the original portion. Those projects were completed in 2003.
Another highlight Frizol remembers is the library’s centennial celebration in 2007, when she invited well-known authors to write letters to the community.
“I’d say our centennial celebration was the most fun thing I’ve ever worked on,” Frizol said.
She is moving to Virginia to marry her fiancé, Randy De Leon.
“I’m going to miss the people and colleagues, because it’s a really nice community, and we have a wonderful network of librarians in the Illinois Valley,” Frizol said. “I’ve been blessed with a good board and staff.”
Stupegia said she has no plans to run the library any differently from the way Frizol has.
“I’m a strong believer — ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,’” Stupegia quipped. “But I want to continue what Laura has done here.”
Upcoming projects in the near future will be a roof repair, Frizol said.