Library director joins Harwood Institute board

David Seleb and Rich Harwood in April 2019

Our library’s Executive Director David J. Seleb has joined the board of directors of The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation. He began serving on the 11-member board in June 2020, as he continues to lead the library using the Harwood Institute’s “turning outward” approach. “The Harwood Institute has profoundly influenced my professional and personal life … Read more

Watch: “Hope of Juneteenth”

Celebrating Juneteenth Today is Juneteenth, the holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the United States. It marks June 19, 1865, the day when enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, were finally told that the Civil War had ended and they were free—two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation … Read more

Meet Juanta: ‘Multicultural learning teaches us to see the world beyond our neighborhoods’

‘I am passionate about multicultural education’ Juanta Griffin, a longtime Oak Park resident and arts educator, is the library’s new Multicultural Learning Coordinator. In this role, she explores and shares learning from the library’s Multicultural Collection, which is curated to help our community explore cultures and build empathy. “I am passionate about multicultural education not … Read more

Updated: Local business and COVID-19

Person shopping with medical mask on

“The information for businesses is changing so fast, and there’s so much information out there,” says Business & Government Librarian Bridget Optholt. Below, find some state and local resources for clarification and further help. The latest Illinois state plans and orders Read the May 5 plan from Gov. J.B. Pritzker: Restore Illinois: A Public Health … Read more

Mental health: Reaching people where they are

Free-Mental-Health-Assessments

Thanks to a unique partnership with Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, people without adequate health care coverage have been receiving confidential mental health assessments from a licensed clinical psychologist at the Main Library since last fall. “Rush University Medical Center is recognizing that our library is where people are coming every day,” says the … Read more

‘Filled with the spirit of unity’: Community members collaborate with us to share cultural heritage

This year’s Community Kwanzaa Celebration will be the third one that Oak Park resident Juanta Griffin has organized at the Main Library. Here, Griffin shares what the celebration means and what she’s looking forward to this year. “We believe that inclusion fosters understanding, and understanding builds respect, and with respect there can be peace,” she … Read more

‘My mission is transmitting the folklore’: A volunteer’s story

Of all the Peruvian folk dances that Oak Park resident Kathy Valdivia has studied and taught, her favorite is the Huaylarsh. It’s “a happy dance,” she says, one that recalls agricultural work and courtship among young people in the central Andean highlands of Peru, where Valdivia is originally from. When Valdivia (pictured) moved to Oak … Read more

‘A place at the table’: Community members collaborate with us to share cultural heritage

Oak Park resident Dima Ali, who organized a family Ramadan celebration at the Main Library in May

In April, Oak Park resident Dima Ali (pictured above) came to the library with a concern—and an idea. Ramadan was coming up in May, and there were no public programs yet planned at the library to recognize it, this holy month of spiritual reflection and fasting for Muslims around the world.  “There is a need … Read more

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