Former Library Director, Ronald V. Stoch has died. He was 70 years old.
For those of you who don’t know, Ron was the Eisenhower Public Library District’s third Director, a position he held for 35 years. Before that, he served as the Bookmobile Driver (back when we still had one), and then as the Reference Librarian (back when we only had one). He retired at the end of 2013.
Those of you who knew Ron might remember seeing him in the new book area, arranging the shelves. If he knew your interests, you may have benefited from him setting aside a book for you because he thought you’d like it, even if you didn’t ask for it. He may have helped you at the Reference Desk. He loved helping people find what they needed or wanted.
Ron was very involved in volunteering with community organizations and he continued his involvement with most of those organizations until he became ill. He served as a mentor in the Ridgewood High School Mentoring program, and was an integral part of the Norridge-Harwood Heights Rotary Club and the Seniors Assistance Center.
Ron was an innovator in the field of library science. He was proud that Eisenhower was one of the first libraries in the state to move from card catalogs to a computerized system. He instituted the Patron Driven Acquisitions model before it was even called that, believing that a library’s collection should reflect the wants and needs of the community it served. He took your needs very seriously and instilled that ethic in his staff members.
Ron loved trains, the White Sox, Alaska, political science, North American history, and colorful pens. He loved Jerry Garcia ties and coordinated button down shirts. He loved national parks and dogs. He loved libraries. He loved this library and he loved the people he met through it.
In a letter he sent to the staff when he retired, Ron offered words of wisdom. I will leave you with this line from his letter that best exemplifies how he felt about libraries:
“It is NEVER about you but it is always about The Library. We as employees can come and go but the library is forever providing information, entertainment and making the American way of Truth & Justice possible.”