BAL on Facebook BAL on Twitter BAL YouTube Channel BAL Local History's photostream

JavaScript disabled or chat unavailable.

twitter talk


BASV "Express Yourself" Exhibit and Book Signing, January 2012

Barrington Area Special Voices Featured in Photographic Exhibit and Book Signing Event at the Barrington Area Library

Nationally recognized portrait photographer Thomas Balsamo has photographed countless special needs children, discovering in the process that each has an exceptional and interesting perspective on life. In that spirit, Balsamo reached out to Barrington Area Special Voices, a local, non-profit organization serving special needs children and their families. In a unique collaboration, Balsamo taught 28 special needs individuals the basics of photography, resulting in Express Yourself, a book and photographic exhibit. The Barrington Area Library’s Gallery in the Library is proud to feature the evocative, compelling photography of these individuals, from January 13 – 29, 2012. A reception and book signing with the artists and Balsamo will take place on Friday, January 13. Copies of Express Yourself will be available for purchase and signing from 7 – 7:30 p.m. The reception will last from 7 – 9 p.m., giving guests plenty of time to mingle with the artists and view their works while enjoying complimentary refreshments.

Express Yourself centers around an assignment Balsamo gave to these budding photographers: “Photograph something that makes you laugh, cry, something you love, something beautiful, and something you can’t live without.” Balsamo says of the project, “We all have gifts, talents, passions, and the ability to affect others — although some of us communicate differently than the rest of us. Express Yourself was my opportunity to inspire special people to begin the discovery process of finding and using their gifts, passions, and talents to enhance their lives and the lives of others.”

Balsamo has seen these young photographers develop a passion for the power of images and hopes they will continue to use photography as a creative outlet and method of communication. Barrington artist and Gallery in the Library co-curator Lisa Swarbrick also spent time working with the Express Yourself photographers and found herself captivated by the creativity and enthusiasm she witnessed. “These kids and young adults are a true joy to be around, and we hope the community will come out to the artists’ reception to celebrate their accomplishments,” states Swarbrick.

Photographer Thomas Balsamo developed his love of photography at the early age of ten after receiving his first camera. His ability to photographically capture people became a career in 1978. His work has been featured on CNN, CBS, WGN and WLS television and published in Professional Photographer among other publications. More information about and images from Express Yourself may be found at Copies of Express Yourself may be purchased online at

Created in 1979, the Gallery in the Library hosts six to twelve exhibits per year at the Barrington Area Library. Two local artists, Lisa Swarbrick and Kelly Stachura, serve as volunteer co-curators. The Gallery in the Library is located on the library's first floor and is open to the public. Artwork may be viewed during normal library hours: Monday-Friday: 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.; Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; Sunday: 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. More information about the Gallery in the Library may be found on the library Web site, A selection of images from a previous Express Yourself book signing event is available at: All images copyright Thomas Balsamo 2011. Images from the Express Yourself book also available upon request.

The Barrington Area Library is located at 505 N. Northwest Highway, Barrington, IL.

Read About Our New Online Catalog

Thursday, December 1, 2011 - The Barrington Area Library is proud to introduce its new catalog and online account system. User-friendly and feature-rich, this updated catalog will make your library experience better than ever.

Thank you for your patience during this transition. Your suggestions and requests helped us to choose the new online catalog and we think you'll be delighted by the change. Please be aware that phone renewal is not working at this time, but should return next week. We expect to have Interlibrary Loan back in place before the end of December.

Here are just a few of the features you will find in the new catalog:

  • Search by relevance to get more precise results;
  • Save a record of all the items you borrow, if you'd like;
  • Save your frequent searches (a favorite novelist, genre or hobby), then get email notification when new items that fit your search arrive;
  • Narrow your search by format (like book or DVD);
  • Receive "Did you mean...?" spellcheck assistance and automated suggestions while you type;
  • Share what you find on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks;
  • Text call numbers to your phone - no more digging for scrap paper!
  • Interlibrary Loan is integrated right into the catalog (coming later this month);
  • Save lists you create, and a lot more.

Ready to try the new catalog? Click here and have fun.

Have questions? Just ask! We look forward to providing even better service to you via our new catalog. Thanks for your continued patience as we learn the new system together.



Barrington Area Library Celebrates Another Successful "One Book One Barrington" Community Reading Event

Featuring Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

One Book One Barrington 2013 officially ended on Saturday, April 27, at our wonderful Swing It! dance and concert. We're still counting, but hundreds of people participated in this year's OBOB, making it our biggest and most successful yet.

We couldn't have done it without our generous co-sponsors and community partners who provided funding, guidance, programming, locations and so many other key elements of One Book One Barrington. Our primary co-sponsors were the Barrington 220 Educational Foundation and the PTO President's Council. We would like to give all of our partners a special thank you here - please let them know you appreciate their work in our community and their support of the library and its programming.


About the book:

Book jacket for Laura Hillenbrand's UnbrokenUnbroken by Laura Hillenbrand tells the true story of Louis Zamperini, a WWII airman and former US Olympic distance runner. After the crash of his B-24, Zamperini floated through the Pacific in a tiny life raft, ultimately traveling 2,000 miles before being captured and enduring Japanese prison camps for two years.

Read about author Laura Hillenbrand.
Additional reading, reviews and videos about Louis Zamperini, Laura Hillenbrand and Unbroken.

Barrington Area Library Hits The Refresh Button With Help From Design Student

At a time when people are just as likely to visit the library to hear live music, use a computer, or view world class art, how does a public library spread the word that books are only one part of its mission? The Barrington Area Library has used a variety of logos, color schemes and publications - from newsletters to Web pages - in its 96 year history, all of which have helped define and elaborate upon its role within the community.


South Branch Reopens, Willow Recreation Center Lockers Back In Service

The library's South Branch location has reopened beginning Monday, June 6, at 9 AM. The pick-up lockers at Hoffman Estates Park District Willow Recreation Center, Algonquin & Lexington Roads, are also back in service as of June 6. We apologize for any inconvenience you experienced due to these construction-related closures.