Janet KelensonMeet Janet Kelenson, Library Trustee

Why I wanted to be a library trustee: My husband and I moved to Oak Park in 1987, two blocks from where his father's family had lived and very near the Dole Branch Library. Our branch libraries are vital to our neighborhoods and are warm, wonderful places for lifelong learning. When there was a possibility that Dole Branch would be closed, I became involved in the community's effort to save the library. Then I ran for the library board and have been serving on the board ever since.

Something I love about Oak Park: Our community's architecture and the willingness of so many Oak Parkers to be stewards of that architecture. I love that we have so many international visitors coming to view that architecture and learn more about our village. And I am proud of the contribution that our 2003 Main Library building has made to the excellence of our architecture.

My favorite "hidden library gem": Our archival collections, which are not so hidden anymore, thanks to the wonders of digitization and the "Hacking Hemingway" grant connecting the library and Oak Park Elementary School District 97 students in studying original documents related to Hemingway and his family and times. Also, I love the library's involvement in geocaching, but you have to know where to look!

What I'm reading now: The Neapolitan novels by the author Elena Ferrante, whose true identity remains a mystery. The novels are powerfully written and deal with universal themes: love of learning, intense family life, poverty, violence, and complicated friendships.

What I'm watching and listening to now: I enjoy all musical genres, but for live music I particularly like the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Dame Myra Hess Concerts at the Chicago Cultural Center (formerly Chicago's public library), and the Lyric Opera. I'm pleased that the library presents lectures on upcoming Lyric Opera performances. I also enjoy author interviews on radio and was captivated by Terry Gross' recent interview with author Elizabeth Strout. I remember Strout's visit to our library in 2009 to a welcoming crowd of fans.

Learn more about the library's board of trustees.

(February 12, 2016)