2016 Annual Report

Our vision is to empower every voice in our community.

And our mission is to share the information, services, and opportunities that fulfill Oak Park's aspirations. You have told us these aspirations are literacy, education, diversity, inclusion, equity, health, safety, and affordability—that's what matters most to Oak Park.

In our work, we turn outward, making "our community the reference point for everything we do."* Community aspirations are what drive us through an intentional and strategic framework of engagement, learning, and stewardship. Read our 2016 milestones to find more examples of impact in these areas.

As the year progresses, we remain fully committed to professional public library values: promoting the development of local and diverse materials, protecting intellectual freedoms, securing the right to privacy, providing spaces and opportunities to connect, and opening access to reliable, fact-based information for more meaningful civic engagement. I look forward to sharing examples of the work we do throughout this next year, and of how we fulfill the aspirations of our community.


David J. Seleb
David J. Seleb,
Executive Director

* Source: Rich Harwood, The Harwood Institute. Learn more at oppl.org/listen.


By the Numbers, 2016
Circulation of Materials at Oak Park Public Library 1,201,353
Digital Materials Downloads and Streaming 180,840
Building Visits 792,611
Website Visits 438,271
Program Attendance 40,258
Volunteer Hours 3,872
Days Buildings Open
Main Library 355.5
Dole Branch 306.5
Maze Branch 293.5
Hours Buildings Open
Main Library 3,551
Dole Branch 2,847
Maze Branch**
** Due to lower-level floor installation, Maze Branch was closed February 29 through March 14. More>
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Thank You, Donors and Friends

When you give locally, you choose to share a gift that nurtures ideas, spreads knowledge in and around Oak Park, and supports civic engagement. You support freedoms to read, to learn, and to individual privacy. Your local loyalty and generosity help a 113-year-old institution, dedicated to literacy and community connection, continue to be accessible to all. Learn more about giving to the library. We are also grateful to the Friends of the Oak Park Public Library, who as a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, raise funds for the library. Join the Friends anytime by choosing the annual tax-deductible membership level that's best for you.


  • Better World Books
  • Brooke Hubbuch
  • Eric Gyllenhaal
  • Joel Beeman and Jessica Farrell
  • Laura Kahan
  • Mary C. Blanc
  • Michael Schiffer
  • Veronica Diamant-Wilson
  • Susan Kay Smith


  • Barbara Purington and Chet Taranowski
  • Bob Campbell
  • David J. Seleb
  • Eileen and Rob Kleps
  • Herb and Susan Grotewold
  • Jean Edwards
  • Juanita Flaglr
  • Kehoe Clare
  • Lane Hart
  • Melinda Brisben
  • Michelle Barnes
  • Nancy Hartman
  • Patricia and Paul Koko
  • Paul Buchbinder
  • Susie Smith
  • Viktoras L. Petroliunas
  • Susie Smith


  • Ann Masur
  • Barbara Mayes
  • Craig Speece
  • David McMullin
  • Deborah Preiser
  • Everlean Manning
  • Gloria Rayburn
  • Janet Kelenson
  • Mary Jo Furgal
  • Rhonna Cass
  • Richard and Joan Meister
  • Rick J. Ashton
  • Sheila McDonnell
  • Tom and Nancy Holmes


  • Adam McDowell
  • Adrienne Jacklin
  • Bill Moore
  • Bob Bell
  • Brian Hansen
  • Chandeep Singh Kaira
  • Charles Stocy
  • Chris Keeperman
  • Daniel Rosser
  • Delphine Furtaw
  • Denise Canterbury
  • Denise Roser
  • Dennis McCarty
  • Elizabeth Keeperman
  • Eric Glass
  • Gail Fisher
  • Janet Steiner
  • JoAnne Ramsey
  • Ken Artrip
  • Kim Hill
  • Ken Putzy
  • Lin Wilson
  • Mark Jacklin
  • Mark Woodworth
  • Mary Umberger
  • Michelle Panicola
  • Nadine Thompson
  • Noah Eimer
  • Paul Lyon
  • Paul Ziebarth
  • Richard Unz
  • Robert John
  • Robert Setlik
  • Rodney Ramsey
  • Sandy Hone
  • Sang Chong
  • Scott Mohr
  • Sherri Mohr
  • Susan Burke
  • Susan Heggeland
  • Susanne Smith
  • Stan Wilson
  • Tierani Markese
  • Willy Stastny


  • Howard Levin
  • Laura Stefanic
  • Marilyn Cantisano
  • Oak Park Elementary School District 97 employees
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2016 Milestones


We are turned outward toward our community. We talk with our community members, we listen, and we take action on what we learn. We are intentional about the choices we make.

Corresponding Values: Collaboration, Compassion, Gathering, Participation.

In 2016, significant partnerships, both new and long-standing, included those with Oak Park Elementary School District 97 (Hacking Hemingway, Multicultural Collection); Oak Park and River Forest High School District 200 (embedded high school librarian and defined philosophy of teen service); the Village of Oak Park (off-site parking for library staff to make more space for patrons); Oak Park Township (youth interventionist program); the Collaboration for Early Childhood; Success of All Youth; and the Oak Park Homelessness Coalition. These and other alignments position the library as a force for positive change in the community.

In 2017, we expect new initiatives will develop to build on the work accomplished in 2016, continuing to strengthen intergovernmental collaboration and resulting in deeper community impact.


We are an organization committed to our own learning and to education and learning for everyone. We are a champion of open access to information. We provide the content that our community needs and expects.

Corresponding Values: Knowledge, Access, Literacy, Reading, Education, Opportunity, Intellectual Freedom.

In 2016, we both expanded exposure to and encouraged use of the Harwood tools with library staff at all levels. This approach provides easy-to-use ways for staff to turn outward, and will continue to drive important components of the staff learning plan in 2017 and beyond.

  • For our December 2016 Staff Day, all staff gathered for a morning of learning from each other and reflecting on our values and our work. With James LaRue, Director of the American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom, we talked about standing up for intellectual freedom in a "post-fact" society, and upholding the library as a place for civil discussion on difficult and perhaps unpopular topics. More>

  • Throughout June and July, the library provided spaces for provocative, honest discussions around the One Book, One Oak Park pick, Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me. The book, chosen based on community feedback, proved to be especially relevant last summer, and we saw higher than average program attendance. Given current events and national discussions on race relations, we've found it to be more pressing than ever for our community to have opportunities to come together to discuss the issues that matter. More>


We preserve and provide access to Oak Park's history. We are committed to environmental sustainability. We are responsible and transparent in the wise use of our community's resources.

Corresponding Values: Accountability, Preservation, Sustainability, Transparency.

Last year, a completed capital assets study gave us a solid blueprint for the future care of award-winning Main Library and the historic Maze Branch Library buildings. (The Dole Branch lives in space rented from the Village of Oak Park, so Dole Branch was not included in the library's commissioned study). Introductory work also began on the phased installation of a new automated materials handling system at the Main Library. This will greatly improve performance and remove the need for increasingly frequent maintenance on what has become an outdated system.

Following through on our intention to use assessment more consistently and conscientiously, new staff and tools were put in place in 2016 to enable more data-informed decisions about collections, services, and programs.

The library has also made significant decisions regarding our organizational structure, decisions that have broken down barriers to internal communication and collaboration, and have redirected resources for new and important work.

We have combined service areas. The library has fewer senior managers who work together much more collaboratively. We have created a new Community Resources Team focused on everyone's safety and better engagement of our most vulnerable patrons. We also have staff expertise and resources dedicated to the library's Special Collections. We have committed to promoting the growth of diverse, quality content in our collection.

In 2017, the library will hire its first Multicultural Learning Librarian to continue to build opportunities for developing global citizens and learning beyond our own library walls.

  • Community collaboration is at the core of our everyday work. As your public library, we choose to turn outward, create welcoming environments, and live our library's diversity statement. We pursue a vision to empower every voice in our community, and a mission to share the information, services, and opportunities that fulfill Oak Park's aspirations and strategic plan.

    We are engagers, turning and focusing outward toward our community. We are learners: listening to what our community tells us and acting intentionally to achieve our objectives. We are stewards: defending our shared values, using vital resources responsibly, and working collaboratively with our partners to prepare for the future. Learn more about us and meet our staff.

  • Joining a handful of public libraries in cities (including Denver, San Francisco, and Washington, DC) with similar social services-based positions, the library created a new Community Resources Team as part of an intentional effort to rethink how we engage with all library patrons, including those who are vulnerable, marginalized, or at-risk, who use library facilities on a daily basis. This new experience model and five-member team works to make the library a safer, more welcoming place for all, and to connect patrons to the resources and information they need.

    Many individuals and families the library has engaged with are experiencing homelessness. The team has also helped people with Medicare, Medicaid, and immigration issues, working through paperwork and processes to connect people with outside services and support. More>