Library Assistant John GWhat I do at the library: I'm a library assistant and spend most of my time on the Main Library's third floor. I help patrons with anything from research projects, to social service resources, to tracking down forgotten Chicago pizza joints.

My favorite "hidden library gem": I love the fireplace at the Maze Branch! It lends such a cozy atmosphere on snowy January afternoons.

How do I turn outward: I love hearing patrons' stories; learning about their favorite books, movies, and music; and offering recommendations. One day this past fall, I left a Bob Dylan songbook at my desk. A patron asked if I was a fan, I asked him about his favorite Dylan albums, and we ended up chatting about music for an hour and trading mandolin picks. It's really awesome that our library creates a space for spontaneous cultural exchange.

Something I love about Oak Park: I love that Oak Parkers cultivate a welcoming, inclusive village while still being very connected and involved with everything Chicago has to offer. While outside the city limits, Oak Park has always felt like another tight-knit Chicago neighborhood to me!

What I'm reading now: I just finished The Making of Zombie Wars, Alekander Hemon's most recent novel. Right now I'm working on Welcome to the Monkey House, a collection of Kurt Vonnegut's short stories. 

What I'm listening to: I've had Chuck Prophet's most recent album, Bobby Fuller Died for Your Sins, on heavy rotation lately. I saw him at the Old Town School of Folk Music last month; it was one of the best live performances I've seen in the past few years. I've also been digging back into Neko Case's Fox Confessor Brings the Flood and the first side of Neil Young's Hawks and Doves.

What I'm watching: I've been watching a bunch of Michelangelo Antonioni films to brush up on my Italian; I recently started an Italian conversation hour that meets the first Tuesday of each month in the book discussion room. I also just finished Stranger Things on Netflix and can't wait for the second season.

(April 7, 2017)

Meet more library staff members >