What I do at the library: Currently, my area of practice is focusing on Local History and Genealogy, but I provide a multitude of services to patrons and visitors of the Oak Park Public Library. Some of those services include:

  • putting the right information, book, or video into the hands of our exceptional public
  • helping people navigate the intimidating world of ebooks, downloadable audiobooks, and other digital media services we provide
  • assisting local groups using our various meeting rooms with their technological needs to ensure that their presentation runs smoothly
  • organizing the Genealogy Meet-Up for genealogy enthusiasts
  • evaluating local history materials and helping Oak Park residents find information on their homes and family connections to the village

How I turn outward: I am a fourth-generation resident of Oak Park and River Forest, and the varied institutions here, including the library, have had a very strong influence on my life. Recently I was helping a student find information on his grandfather’s service during World War II. I was pleasantly surprised to see in the pages of the Oak Leaves of that time not only the information the student was looking for, but an article about my Uncle Bob, who had just been awarded his Navy wings. It is how my history intertwines with so many other people's in this village that gives me a unique perspective.

My favorite "hidden library gem": Well, the library does have many hidden gems, but it is the goal of any library to ensure that the hidden gems are made available to those who need to access them for whatever reason. I am currently working with Leigh Tarullo, Curator of Special Collections, to ensure that as much as possible of the local history collection is accessible to all.

Something I love about Oak Park: I know I am not alone when I say one of my favorite things in Oak Park is the free, abundant street parking! Apart from that I love nothing more than walking down a street I have walked in the past and seeing a home I never noticed before.

What I’m reading, listening, and watching to now: I, like many of us here at the library, am transfixed by Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, a fantastically powerful book that is truly inspiring. I am listening to Hamilton: Original Broadway Cast Recording because it is cheaper than buying a ticket and Lin-Manuel Miranda has “revolutionized” the Broadway musical. Finally, the most biting and profane political satire on television is Veep, with Seinfield’s Elaine, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, portraying Selina Meyer, a vice president in way over her head.

(June 16, 2016)

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