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Thanks to an $18,000 grant from the Community Foundation for McHenry County, this year and next, the McHenry County Historical Society & Museum has a new part-time librarian.

Demands on the 40-year-old research library have grown along with the Society's collection. The vast archive features family biography files, obituaries, atlases and maps, pictures, postcards and shelves of local history books. To request a research appointment, visit

Rachel Seidner, of Mundelein, earned a master's degree in library and information science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She brings with her a file cabinet full of skills, including serving as a library services assistant at the College of Lake County and being able to speak Spanish.

"We are thrilled to have Rachel join our team," former Administrator Kurt Begalka said. "The demands on library volunteers necessitated the hiring of a trained librarian to share the load and take MCHS into the 21st century."

Among the challenges facing the Society is need to ramp up the digitization and public access to its collection – which exceeds 40,000 items. MCHS is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2023.

The generosity of donors enabled The Foundation to distribute $629,943 to 39 local nonprofit organizations who serve our friends and neighbors in McHenry County.
A majority of the Mission Grants will be used to cover operational expenses which allow nonprofits to fulfill their missions.
The Foundation is the leader in McHenry County for providing legacy giving opportunities to our community’s donors and charitable organizations. Founded in 2001 to ensure financial support to McHenry County’s charitable community forever, the Foundation continues to “connect people who care with causes that matter.”

You can follow her musings at


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