Community Building Blocks


  • As a conclusion to its July 2018 Community Building Blocks workshop in Oak Park, the Environmental Protection Agency published a 33-page recommendation report titled “Linking Community Building Blocks for Educational, Economic and Equity Outcomes (pdf).”
  • All local Oak Park elected officials, two-day workshop attendees, and the general public were invited on Tuesday, October 30 to discuss how, together as a community, Oak Park can move forward on the themes and recommendations outlined in the EPA’s report.

UPDATE: Here’s what you shared about moving forward

November 14, 2018 – A public discussion was facilitated on Tuesday, October 30 by the library’s Executive Director David Seleb. Read the notes from the Building Blocks Workshop Review and Organizational meeting (pdf) »

UPDATE: Read the EPA’s ‘Next Steps’ memo

September 18, 2018  – Read the Environmental Protection Agency’s final 33-page report for Oak Park, titled “Linking Community Building Blocks for Educational, Economic, and Equity Outcomes (pdf).” Then plan to join your colleagues and neighbors on Tuesday, October 30 at 7 pm in the Main Library Veterans Room to discuss how, together as a community, we can move forward on the recommendations outlined in this report.

UPDATE: Thank you for attending the two-day workshop

July 14, 2018 – Thank you! Oak Park’s Community Building Blocks Workshop was a success, with more than 50 people sharing valuable input during the two-day event. The outside team of consultants from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development shared with the event’s Steering Committee that they were impressed with our community’s turnout, active participation, and deep knowledge of Oak Park.

Special thanks to the members of the workshop’s Steering Committee: Frances Kraft, Equity Team of Oak Park; Deborah Baness King, Triton College Dean of Academic Success; Gavin Morgan, Oak Park Township Manager; Lynda Schueler, Housing Forward Executive Director; James Madigan, Oak Park Library Deputy Director; Robert Simmons, Oak Park Library Social Services and Safety Director; and Jodi Kolo, Oak Park Library Communications Director.

Thank you also to other leaders in the community who supported the workshop and who have communicated their support for the work to come, including Michele Zurakowski, Oak Park-River Forest Food Pantry Executive Director and Elizabeth Chadri, Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation Program Director.

You are invited to a Community Building Blocks Workshop

June 20, 2018 – Join local community leaders and your neighbors at one or both of these upcoming Community Building Blocks Workshop sessions:

  • Thursday, July 12, 6-8 pm: A community meeting to introduce this collaborative, capacity-building project and to identify the most important issues and potential opportunities facing Oak Park.
  • Friday, July 13, 9 am-4:30 pm: Action-planning sessions that speak to goals, issues, and opportunities in Oak Park around housing affordability, access to healthy food, and transportation access to the library and other community assets.

Led by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, this workshop aims to increase capacity, funding, and community participation and support for existing programs.

Both events will take place at the Main Library. Please RSVP by Monday, July 9 to David Seleb at and 708.697.6911.

More background

Oak Park Public Library, through a grant partnership with Triton College and the Equity Team of Oak Park, has been selected by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Institute of Museum and Library Services to host this two-day facilitated discussion in our community for stakeholders, leaders, officials, and other interested community members. This discussion includes free technical assistance to Oak Park for advancing community and economic development goals.

The original grant – submitted by and awarded to Triton College and its partners – proposed a collaboration among the three organizations to provide services to Oak Park’s low-income and vulnerable populations to improve educational outcomes and college and career readiness. We are now more than halfway through that 18-month grant program. The upcoming event is designed to advance the development, delivery, and impact of that collaboration in the community.


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