Poet Luis Tubens to work with tween, teen patrons

Luis Tubens, an accomplished resident poet and vocalist with ESSO Afro Jam Funkbeat—the best new band and best international/world music act of 2016 according to the Chicago Reader—is the library's first artist in residence. He begins in this new engagement and learning role on Tuesday, January 3.

Tubens, whose work includes writing, performing, and recording poems with music in English and Spanish, will meet with library staff and student patrons in grades 6-12 for about four hours each week at the Main Library, to create poetry and encourage teen and tween learning through self-expression in this first-of-its-kind out-of-school-time library program.

"I am honored and proud to be the first resident poet of the Oak Park Public Library. I am very excited to conduct youth workshops and open mics for the next three months as well as produce poetry inspired by my time at the library," Tubens said. "I thank the Oak Park Public Library for giving me the opportunity to cultivate my passion for working with youth and creating poetry. Please come see me!" 

New spoken-word open mic sessions for students in grades 6-12 

Students in grades 6-12 interested in working with Tubens and participating in this free and open library program should plan to visit the Main Library (beginning January 5) from 5 to 7 pm most Thursdays in January, February, and March. 

Work inspired by, developed with, and created at the library will be showcased at monthly spoken-word freestyle open mic sessions titled “More Than a Mic: Your Voice Is Your Power.” The first of three sessions will take place from 4:30 to 6:30 pm on Wednesday, January 25, at the Main Library.

“We hope to engage tweens and teens at the library more deeply using a highly relatable and popular form of creative expression,” said Jose Cruz, the library’s Middle School Services Librarian.

More about Luis Tubens

Tubens' teaching and workshop experience with tweens and teens includes teaching poetry to rising 8th graders in the GEAR UP program at DePaul University, working with incarcerated youth at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, and teaching poetry at the National Museum of Mexican Art’s bilingual summer program. He has served as a coach for the Yollocalli Louder Than a Bomb slam poetry team, was a Mental Graffiti National Poetry Slam team member, and has opened and performed with renowned acts such as Calle 13, Saul Williams, and Aja Monet.

More about Jose Cruz

Cruz will work most closely with Tubens and student patrons. Cruz also contributes regularly to the library team delivering original More Than a Month library programming, an all-ages program series that explores the African diaspora, revealing black history beyond its February traditions and placing it within American history at large. The new artist-in-residence program also will receive library staff support from High School Services Librarian Rachael Bild and Community Resources Specialist Stephen Jackson.