Local business and COVID-19

Person shopping with medical mask on

On Friday, March 20, Governor J. B. Pritzker issued an executive order for all Illinois residents to stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, except to conduct essential activities and business. You may be wondering: Which restaurants are still open? How can I support my favorite local businesses? What businesses and activities are considered … Read more

Lively & the library: A story of growth

Librarian and store owner at Lively Athletics

Lively Athletics didn’t always sell kids’ shoes. In 2014, Anne Pezalla opened the store at 109 N. Oak Park Ave. with her sister Kate, selling women’s athletic clothing and shoes. In 2016, she started kicking around the idea of adding shoes for kids. She was participating in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program at … Read more

5 ways libraries support entrepreneurs, small business owners

OPRF Chamber Women in Business

Did you know your library can be a great business partner? “I don’t think a lot of small business owners or entrepreneurs even know what an amazing resource the library can be,” said Anne Pezalla, co-owner of Oak Park store Lively Athletics. This National Entrepreneurship Week, February 16-23, we’re showcasing five ways the library supports … Read more

‘Catalyst’ grant connects mentors with youth bound for college and career

Emerging Leaders Network

As an 18-month grant-funded initiative to empower youth for college and career builds to a finish at the Main Library, those involved are calling it a “community catalyst” for the way it’s sparking opportunities, strengthening relationships, and energizing young people, families, and those who work with young people. “To catalyze something means you can walk … Read more

Securing new jobs

Adult Education and Job Seekers Librarian Rashmi Swain poses with two recent graduates of Housing Forward’s Career Passport program.

As a primary school educator in India and a Hindi instructor for graduate students from Western countries, Oak Park Adult Education and Job Seekers Librarian Rashmi Swain has long practiced her passion for sharing the empowerment that learning can provide. So when then Housing Forward employee Suzanne Till approached Swain for support in teaching Housing Forward … Read more

Book Bike delivers small-business stories

Book Bike outside Kinslahger Brewing Company

Ride along with the Book Bike as we share the unique #OakParkStories of small businesses, starting this National Small Business Week, April 30-May 6. The idea is to turn outward and amplify voices from the community, said Neighborhood Services Librarian Sarah Yale. “To start, we intentionally reached out to local small businesses in areas not given as much ‘love’ as those in … Read more

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