#BuildingCommunity through the use of free public space: Arabic Calligraphy Club brings families together

Mother and son writing in Arabic

Every Saturday, a group of families gathers at the public library for Arabic Calligraphy Club. Using free meeting room space at the Main Library, they bring supplies: plain white paper, pens and markers, canvases, bottles of ink. And, of course, snacks—a tin of butter cookies, a few tomatoes, falafel, chocolate. “It’s good family time,” says … Read more

Sharing 1,000 books: ‘It has been truly special’

Father and son reading at Maze Branch

Navin doesn’t start kindergarten until fall 2020, yet he’s already read more than 1,000 books! Committed to the long-term goal of reading together well before kindergarten, Navin and his family participated in the library’s 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program. It’s designed to prepare babies, toddlers, and preschoolers to arrive ready to learn come kindergarten. “We … 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

A look back: One Book in 2018

A People’s History of Chicago was at the center of our One Book, One Oak Park series in 2018. In 77 poems, author Kevin Coval traces the city’s history through often untold perspectives, including African-American, Latinx, LGBTQ, and working-class experiences. Find it in the catalog » Poems that bridge time and place One thread running … Read more

Living History: Led by youth, for youth

Living History Project

“Some people have a tendency of underestimating young people,” said Middle School Librarian Jose Cruz. “When sometimes it’s that we’re not providing them with something that is interesting for them, so you won’t see the results.” That hasn’t been the case for the Living History Project, a grant-funded initiative that’s formed a tight-knit group of … Read more

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