In The News

Studs Terkel Humanitarian Award Goes To Sharon Goodman

This article originally appeared in the Village Chronicles.

The City of Warrenville invites you to congratulate Sharon Goodman, recipient of the 2009 Studs Turkel Humanitarian Award, at a reception to be held on Monday, Dec. 7, at 6:30 p.m. at the city hall, 28w701 Stafford Pl. A formal presentation of the award will take place at the city council meeting, immediately following at 7:00 p.m.

Studs Terkel has recognized the extraordinary accomplishments of ordinary people in his chronicles of American life; and the Illinois Humanities Council has initiated the Studs Terkel Humanities Award to honor those humanities heroes whose efforts are often unnoticed and unsung. Individuals who donate their time to the humanities are building communities for the next century, and the Illinois Humanities Council is dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities.

Sharon Goodman joined the Warrenville Library Board in 1983, when the library was located in the quaint, but cramped, Warrenville Community Building and the board soon began to look toward a future with a dedicated building for a community library. Four years later, thanks to many hours of hard work by Sharon, the board of trustees, and other supporters, a brand new library building stood just a few blocks from its original location.

In the following years, the library continued to be a place for Warrenville’s residents to find the information they needed. Sharon was always cognizant of the many roles played by the library – a place for young mothers to gather with their children at story time, a resource for students working on homework assignments, the place to turn to when you didn’t know where to find the answer. Sharon has always been one of the library’s strongest advocates. She made trips to Springfield to visit with state legislators on Illinois Library Day; she promoted the library, its collection and services among her friends and neighbors; and she took an active role representing the library district on the City-Library Task Force.

After serving two full terms, Sharon retired from the board in 1995, but was reappointed 18 months later, just in time to begin planning again for the library’s future. Sharon’s work on the City-Library Task Force helped bring about a successful partnership between the library and the City of Warrenville for funding another building project. The resulting addition and remodeling project led to the bright, comfortable library that continues to be enjoyed by the community to this day.

During her 25 years on the library board, she served as treasurer, vice-president and two terms as president. Sharon was diligent during and following the building project to be sure that the library’s financial future was secure. She encouraged careful budgeting and ensured that the taxpayers could be proud of how their monies were utilized. An important task of the board is to choose a director, and Sharon was in charge of a national search, which found the current director, Sandy Whitmer.

One program Sharon instigated was the “Art on the Prairie” festival. This is a juried art fair that took place over a period of six years during the 1990s. Sharon assembled a group of artists and library trustees and volunteers, and worked with the city on planning for the event. Each art fair included about 30 artists, an afternoon of entertainment (music and storytellers), and local food vendors. Each festival also included a book sale (organized by the Goodman family). It had a hiatus when the library trustees’ attention was focused on the 21st century building expansion, but it was restarted in 2009 under the Warrenville Park District.

Another major community event Sharon instigated was a Science Fair at Clifford Johnson Elementary School. She originally approached the principal with this idea in 1989, and was told to form a committee and show the school administration what would be involved. She did exactly that, and she chaired a group of parents and teachers, and put together a real community event. The first held was in 1991, and she chaired the event for four years. Over a quarter of the students took part each year, and she helped to bring dynamic speakers to the kickoff, including an astronaut one year and a Nobel Prize winner another year. She served as a Science Fair judge there for 10 years, and the science fair has continued every year since.

Sharon’s other accomplishments during her tenure as a library trustee included the successful passage of a referendum, several years of Art on the Prairie, the original and expanded library facility, the attraction and retention of a competent and skilled staff, the introduction of services for Hispanic residents, and a stable financial future for the Library District. Because of her long-standing dedication to the mission of quality library service for the Warrenville community, Sharon is held in the highest esteem by present and former library trustees and employees.