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Northland named favorite library in Web competition

| Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 9:03 p.m.
Mystery writer Gemma Halliday of San Francisco organized an online contest in April 2014 that the Northland Public Library won. Northland's 1,503 votes for 'favorite library' means it will receive the proceeds from the sale of a collection of e-books by Halliday and other mystery writers.
Sherry Koehler, 45, of Franklin Park nominated the Northland Public Library to be in an online favorite-library contest in which the winning library would receive the proceeds from a limited-time sale of a collection of e-books featuring the work of 11 mystery authors. Northland won with 1,503 votes.

A Franklin Park resident helped bring what likely will be several thousand dollars to her favorite library, by way of her favorite author.

Sherry Koehler, 45, nominated the Northland Public Library to be in an online contest in which the winning library would receive the proceeds from a limited-time sale of a collection of e-books featuring the work of 11 authors. After receiving 1,503 votes, the library in McCandless won the online competition as the voters' favorite library.

“We're extremely grateful and pleased that we were brought into this competition,” said Santina Balestreire, director of marketing and communications at Northland. Library officials wouldn't have been aware of the competition without Koehler, Balestreire said.

“I love to read,” Koehler said. “I just like the atmosphere of Northland and the people there.”

Voters chose Northland as their favorite library over 72 other public libraries across the country in the competition, organized by mystery author Gemma Halliday.

Koehler said she's a fan of Halliday and learned about the competition from the author's newsletter.

Halliday said she estimates the sale proceeds will be in the neighborhood of $7,000.

“We decided to donate the proceeds from our boxed set of mystery e-books because all of the authors involved grew up on library books,” Halliday, who lives in San Francisco, said in an e-mail.

“Books should be available to everyone, and I know that with funding being cut for so many libraries lately that this isn't always possible,” she said.

Halliday writes different series, including the High Heels, Jamie Bond and Hollywood Headlines mysteries.

Northland will receive the money in July. Balestreire said officials are not sure yet how it will be used.

She said she hopes to get some patron feedback via social media before the library receives the money.

“Without the patrons, we wouldn't have gotten this money,” she said. “So this should be for them.”

The library promoted the contest on social media, signs by library computers and by word of mouth for the 19 days the voting took place.

“It was sort of like a fun pep rally for the library,” Balestreire said.

Works by these authors were included in the collection: Aimee Gilchrist, Christina A. Burke, Jennifer Fischetto, Kathleen Bacus, Leslie Langtry, Maria Grazia Swan, Sibel Hodge, Traci Andrighetti, Wendy Byrne, T. Sue VerSteeg and Halliday.

Kelsey Shea is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at or at 724-772-6353.

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