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

A welcoming place, where everybody is somebody

Social Services Specialist Stephen Jackson, Supervisor of Safety and Security Aaron Alonzo, and Social Services Director Robert Simmons

In March 2016, Robert Simmons joined the library as its first social worker, a direct result of the library’s intentional strategy of listening and responding to community aspirations. Since then, the Social Services and Safety team he’s built has served more than 350 vulnerable patrons. Most are Oak Park residents experiencing mental illness, homelessness, and … Read more

You belong at your library

You Belong at Your Library

In 2017, your public library: Re-engaged more than 1,700 Oak Park Public Library cardholders since eliminating fines for overdue materials. Actively listened and learned from hundreds of patrons, peers, and partners about shared aspirations and emerging concerns. Welcomed more than 100 new community organizations after opening up the library’s meeting space policy. Read more in … Read more

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