‘The whole world comes together to learn, and it fills me with joy’: Takeaways from the 2021 assistive tech conference

Librarian Shelley Harris points to an AAC board

By Shelley Harris, Early Literacy Librarian Learning is a key and consistent part of my job. The highlight of my learning year is the Assistive Technology Industry Association’s annual ATIA conference. I attend the conference every winter and bring back program and accessibility ideas for the library to implement.  This year, we met virtually, yet … Read more

Hemingway in Oak Park: New Ken Burns film shows photos from your library

Hemingway, the new three-part documentary by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, premieres on WTTW and PBS on April 5-7.  See the WTTW schedule » And if you watch the film, you’ll see some archival images from your library, showing a young Ernest growing up in Oak Park. Our Manager and Curator of Special Collections Leigh Tarullo started … Read more

Meet Tatiana, Restorative Practices Coordinator

Tatiana Swancy, Restorative Practices Coordinator

Last January, Tatiana Swancy was among eight library staff members who trained to become peace circle keepers, or facilitators. “A peace circle is a tool to have community conversations where everyone is valued,” she explains. “It’s rooted in the idea that everyone has a story, and it’s a great way to address difficult topics. It … Read more

Meet Rose, your new Health & Senior Services Librarian

Rose Barnes, Health and Senior Services Librarian

As our new Health and Senior Services Librarian, Rose Barnes is your go-to for resources on health and wellness and senior services. “I am most interested in exploring more ways to incorporate health and wellness programming into the library while also creating spaces for conversation and growth,” she says. “I am passionate about practicing yoga, … Read more

Our new manager of public safety asks, ‘How can I empower others?’

As our library’s approach to public safety has evolved over the past five years, library staff member Aaron Alonzo has grown along with it. He started at the library in 2017 in a part-time role, and has since worked to become a leader in the organization. This month, Alonzo was promoted to Manager of Public Safety. … Read more

Join us for two anti-racist book discussions in December

Register now for December 1: Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, and You Join us on Tuesday, December 1, 6-7:30 pm​ for the third family and community discussion of Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. Register now » Stamped offers a history of racist and anti-racist ideas in America, from their roots in Europe … Read more

Books Empower: How we’re partnering to give new books to people who need them most

Books Empower: Book delivery

‘The kind of project that makes us love Oak Park’ With funding from the Illinois State Library, we’ve launched an initiative to distribute new, free books to community members who are most in need of resources. Recipients will be able to keep these books forever and use them to build their home libraries. This new … Read more

‘Kids are reflective and ready to do this work’: Supporting anti-racism in Oak Park middle schools

Beronica Puhr and Katy Alejos load van with boxes of books

“Schools are a reflection of our society, so in the wake of social justice and anti-racism demonstrations, we must support our students in becoming global citizens in a diverse democracy.” —Oak Park Elementary School District 97, Anti-Racism in District 97 All Oak Park Elementary School District 97 middle school students are reading and discussing Stamped: … Read more

How we’re partnering ‘to develop young minds’ during COVID-19

Parent and child with computer

While so much has changed this year, our priority to support early childhood learning remains strong. “We work with educators, children, and caregivers to develop young minds,” says Early Childhood Community Engagement Specialist Jenny Jackson. “We set a foundation in social and emotional learning, and through that foundation we focus on literacy and connectedness.” Connectedness … Read more

Now virtual, English conversation program ‘has really blossomed’

People on Zoom computer screen

“I live alone, and so I don’t have anyone to talk to. I feel great that today I had a chance to meet others virtually, and I learned many new words in English.” -Participant in English Language Conversation program Before the pandemic, English language learners came together every Saturday morning at the Main Library to … Read more

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