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2012 highlights

In 2012, we strove to enhance the quality of life in our diverse community—by providing the resources and services for lifelong learning and enjoyment, the space and opportunities to gather and connect, and by fostering a love of reading. In turn, and throughout the year, you embraced opportunities to participate, connect and discover—with our dedicated staff and with each other. Your strong, consistent use of our diverse collection and services, your insights about what matters most, today and in the future, and your continued love and support were key to our achievements. Read on for more 2012 highlights.

Read Guillermo’s story >

You made us a 5-Star Library

The numbers tell this story. Earning a 5-Star rating in the November 2011 edition of Library Journal’s Index of Public Library Service was a big deal for us, and for our entire community. This 5-Star honor compared peer library numbers, based on 2010 data, in four basic areas: number of times materials were borrowed; number of visits; event attendance; and Internet use.

Each and every day, we were committed to excellent service—called out in our vision. So while earning 4 stars in 2011 was good, earning 5 stars in 2012 was validation of our work to reach higher heights. We’re proud of our stars, and what they say about Oak Park. Only 86 libraries in the U.S., and 6 in Illinois, received 5 stars. To add, in our state’s budget category, we ranked at the top of the list. So thank you for using your library, and helping us be home to one of the highest ranked libraries in the nation. Learn more about our 5-Star rating >

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Read Teresa’s story >

You engaged, and helped shape our future

You told us what was important to you. In 2012, we asked and you answered, casting more than 2,000 votes in July for your favorite headline about a future Oak Park. Our “Share Your Vote, Spark the Future.” headline winner? “Oak Park Named the Best Place to Grow Up,” followed in a tight race by “Oak Park Wins as Best Place for Artistic Creation and Expression” and “Oak Park: an ideal village for Creative Entrepreneurship.” Then in November, you answered our online survey, telling us “building a balanced collection with multi-format choices, diverse programming, innovative services,” and “helping residents develop the skills they need to succeed in the 21st Century” should be the library’s top priorities. From these and numerous interactions and feedback throughout the year, know your voice was heard, and helped shape the library’s new strategic plan.

You embraced a new idea. Since its April debut, the Main Library Idea Box has generated both national recognition and hometown kudos. This dynamic participatory community space and the new monthly experiences it provided continue to encourage learning through experimentation and play for library visitors at every age. Learn more about our Idea Box >

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Read Joanne’s story >

You found value in our many services

You used more services for job seekers, teens, and tweens. Starting in March, to build on our traditional resources for job seekers, we offered free seminars each month hosted by expert presenters. From July to October, our teen librarians worked with national media mentors and local journalists to immerse local teens in “News Know-how,” a media literacy program sponsored by the American Library Association and the Open Society Foundations. Also for teens and tweens (9 to 13-year-olds) we created better Main Library spaces to interact in, feel proud of, and inspire a love of learning. Find more for job seekers, teens and tweens >

You gained card convenience by losing expiration dates. If you received a new Oak Park Public Library card in the spring of 2012 or after, you know as long as you live in Oak Park, your card will never expire. We hope this new convenience makes it even easier to use the library and all it has to offer. Browse a complete list of library services >

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Read Wanda’s story >

You gained more access to more resources

You visited your branch libraries. To give you more time to access the materials and services found in what we’ve overheard are our “community living rooms” in south and north Oak Park, we added more Sunday and weekday hours. Dole Branch Library and Maze Branch Library—with their cozy environments and tight neighborhood connections—continue to be an important part of what the library offers to all of Oak Park. This was shown by more than 50 percent rise in event attendance and nearly 25 percent increase in visits at our two branch locations in 2012. Learn more about Dole Branch and Maze Branch libraries >

You used your virtual library. For the first time, readers logged their own summer reading hours in our virtual summer reading program. 2012’s test run gave us great insights into how to expand things in the summer of 2013. Also in 2012, use of the library’s custom app grew immensely. In its peak month, more than 900 people used the app to manage their accounts, and use fun features including “Book Look” which scans any book’s barcode to immediately check if it’s in our collection. Get more free library apps >

You welcomed more ereaders and free music. This fall, we began offering Barnes & Noble nooks, and a wider ebook collection for download onto your own device through the 3M Cloud library. Free and legal song downloads (up to three songs a week) were available via Freegal. Use your library card and PIN to download ebooks, music and more >

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Read Eric’s story >

You benefitted from responsible stewardship

Since 2003, you have recorded more 5 million library visits. To support the wear and tear that comes with heavy traffic, we remained committed to maintaining and improving all aspects of our facilities. In 2012, we reupholstered worn furniture, replaced audiovisual equipment, and added more electrical outlets to accommodate more laptops. In the Main Library parking garage, 2012’s installation of sensor-driven LED lighting and upgrades for more efficient heating and cooling were the latest green choices to save money and support the environment. Learn more about the Main Library’s architecture and history >

In 2012, you benefitted from behind-the-scenes updates. In 2012, wireless printing was added at the Main Library. Work continued on our annual, rolling computer replacement schedule to provide up-to-date computers for your everyday use. IT infrastructure work was completed to provide a faster, and easier to connect to, wireless network. Looking ahead to 2013, we’ll partner with the Park District of Oak Park to extend the Main Library’s wifi network to reach into Scoville Park. Watch for that collaborative effort when the park reopens in June. Learn more about our 2013 budget and plans >

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By the Numbers

Table 1: 2012 summary financials
Property Tax$6,993,475
Parking Garage$33,742
Table 2: 2012 summary use
Materials checked out 1,476,247
Visits to three physical locations768,638
Visits to virtual location, OPPL.org791,965
Total collection*323,170
Adult and Teen print (books, magazines)55%
Adult and Teen AV (DVDs, CDs, video games, books on CD)14%
Child Print (books, magazines)26%
Child AV (DVDs, CDs, video games, books on CD)5%
Ebooks downloaded33,519
Monthly mobile app users900
Library laptop computer checkouts874
Total event participants41,632
Total summer reading participants
Children’s 3,226
Adults 397
Self-checkout sessions599,647
New library cards issued4,318
Volunteer hours4,487

*These numbers reflect Oak Park titles. Cardholders have access to more than 1 million titles via SWAN, a consortium of 80 area libraries.
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Thanks Friends

Your generous support gives so much to us all. We are grateful for the Friends of the Oak Park Public Library and our 2012 supporters. Friend your library to make a valued and recognized contribution today. Choose a membership level that’s right for you. Or simply donate now >


  • Candelario & Elizabeth Celio
  • Janet & Paul Laxalt


  • Laura Beebe


  • Ms. Barbara Ballinger
  • Donna & Bill Barrows
  • R.T. Brannegan
  • Norma Blanchard & Robert Burchill
  • Peter & Nancy Clark
  • Carol Cortelyou
  • Joan Fiscella
  • Elizabeth Halpern
  • Lane Hart
  • John & Patricia Hayes
  • Werner Huget
  • Patricia & Paul Koko
  • Fredric D. Leary
  • Audrey Lee
  • Gary & Kim McCullough
  • Walter Mikol
  • Bill & Elaine Moor
  • Charles Morrison
  • Donna Myers
  • Donald Nekrosius
  • Ravi Datta Nemana
  • Robert E. Nied, Jr.
  • Lynne & Rick Palmore
  • Allen & Georga Parchem
  • Viktoras L. Petroliunas
  • Edward Pont
  • Joan Radovich
  • Kathy Rush
  • Meredith & David Schacht
  • Linda & Michael Schiffer
  • Margaret Michalski & Franklin Schwerin
  • Susie Smith
  • Marilyn Cantisano & Donald Southworth
  • Antonieta Garcia-Strain & Derek Strain
  • James Strait
  • Barbara Purington & Chet Taranowski
  • Rebecca Teasdale
  • Bonnie, Terry & Ellie VanderWell


  • Ms. Doris W. Angell
  • William H. Baker
  • Laurie Beasley
  • Daniela Blanco
  • Joe Coglianese
  • Sara Cohen
  • Peggy & John Coon
  • John Cooper
  • Laura Crawford
  • Robyn & Joel D’Alba
  • Kimberly Ellen Dugan
  • Dan Frigo & Deirdre Flynn
  • Alan & Winifred Fox
  • Mary Jo Furgal
  • Elinor Hamer-Crane
  • Philomena Harbaugh
  • Nancy Hartman
  • Dorothy & Robert Hetzel
  • Thomas & Nancy Holmes
  • Mary Rose Lambke
  • Everlean Manning
  • Ann Young Marohn
  • Ann Masur
  • Sheila Elkins McDonnell
  • Richard & Joan Meister
  • Melissa Mickelberry
  • Larry & Carole Mitchener
  • Mary Jo Msall
  • Jerry & Margaret Norton
  • Barbara Peyser
  • Renee Pleshar
  • Denise Sacks
  • James Sadowski
  • Susan Valle
  • Visit Oak Park
  • Gordon Waldron


  • Tom Adams
  • Burton Andersen
  • Grace Behrendes
  • Jane Bularzik
  • Chris Fascione
  • Margaret Ciacciarelli
  • Agnes Cooper
  • Marsha Cooper
  • William and Tesse Donnelly
  • Daniel Efner
  • Pat Fahey
  • Cheryl Gandolfi
  • Janet Garretson
  • Leticia Gonzalez
  • Dorothy Hill
  • Jack Hurwitz & Penelope Ingalls
  • Kathryn Ivsin
  • Frank & Theresa Lipo
  • Patricia Louderman
  • Eleanor & Candido Marquez
  • William Mavrelis
  • Allen McVey
  • Gloria & Bill Merrill
  • Jim Peterson
  • Magda Piper
  • Madeleine Therese Raymond
  • Bruce Samuels
  • Margarert Schmollinger
  • Peggy Sinko
  • Charles H. Stats
  • Nancy Strand
  • Dr. Marsha Vetter
  • Karen Walsh
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Is the library making a difference in your life?

We’d love to know! Tell us your story. By sharing your story with us, you help deepen the understanding of our mission.
“My library is an essential component of my research, creativity, and parenting.

I enjoy Maze Branch Library with its intimate interior, spacious tables and exhibits from local artists. Staff there seem to know everybody by name. It’s a place that creates a pro-social experience, helping build a society of thinkers, makers, civically engaged citizens, and stronger families. It is a cornerstone of our neighborhood and a gem in our village.”

Guillermo Delgado, poet, artist, father and cardholder since 2007
“I’ve seen my library grow and change.

Among the many electronic options, I love to use the online book reservations. One day soon I plan to download a book. This online service really is the future of our library.”

Teresa Powell, Village Clerk and cardholder since 1983
“My library put my job search on track.

I haven’t had to look for over 15 years so I felt like a beginner. When working on my resume, the library’s job seeker seminars taught me how to emphasize important aspects of my non-work life, like getting my master’s degree and volunteering. I work on my resume at the library, so if I get stuck, I go to the career materials and find something to guide me. The seminars, the up-to-date materials, and the helpful people who work here—that’s how the library is making a difference in my life.”

Joanne Edwards, prospective human resources manager and cardholder since 2003
“My library makes things so convenient.

I love the new Sunday hours. I go to the Dole Branch Library often to check out books, browse DVDs, and just explore what’s new. I find something interesting each time. I usually do my renewals online from home. But when I was without Internet at home for a time, I used the library’s free computers and Wi-Fi for all sorts of tasks. So that was convenient too.”

Wanda Ball-Turner, faithful Dole supporter and raging reader, cardholder since 1995
“This is my community, and this is my library.

During my own career shift, I could not have made it through without the library as a supportive location. It gave me a place where I felt I could belong. Today, the Main Library continues to offer us all a beautiful, welcoming space to think, to work, and to connect. To do what you need to do, when you need to do it. We need to keep it that way. Our community’s children need to know that learning does not stop at high school or college. We must support actions and places that keep community together, and the library does just that.”

Eric Davis, President, Public Design Architects LLC and Trustee, Oak Park Township, cardholder since 2000