Wilmette Public Library 2018-2019 Year in Review

2018-2019 was a year of growth, exploration, changes, and discovery at Wilmette Public Library. Together, we explored literature, shared food and enjoyed concerts and lectures, tried our hand at Making, and expanded our digital world. Join us as we take a look back at some of the highlights of our year.

Maker Events & Digital Learning

In February, we hosted our first annual MakerFest, a festival that showcased local Makers and offered attendees a chance to experience hands-on learning in technology, art, and design. More than 400 community members attended, interacting with 13 makers and partners. We made jewelry, learned to weave baskets, explored fibercraft and clay modeling, and experimented with new technologies. We also took part in a variety of Maker events throughout the year, from etching glasses and making faux-enamel pins to getting creative with pool noodles and egg cartons. We loved helping you explore and develop your interests in a hands-on way that brings new technology to life.

We introduced our Library of Things collection this year, bringing technology and non-traditional resources into your home. From programmable Ozobots to mobile hotspots to telescopes, the Library of Things helps you incorporate exciting new tools and technologies into your everyday life.

Summer Reading at the Library

We blasted off on a library adventure together with this year’s Summer Reading Club, “A Universe of Stories.” More than 900 children completed this year’s program, reading at least 20 minutes a day for 20 days over the course of the summer, and our adult and teen clubs had more than 600 participants. From our kick-off celebration through space-themed programs for all ages to our finisher celebration on the newly-renovated lawn, our summer reading clubs are a beloved tradition bringing the community together with literature, discovery, and exploration.

Kids Library Council makes the 2019 Summer Reading Club booth.
The Summer Reading Club Booth is a Wilmette tradition for more than half a century. This summer, we welcomed brothers Michael, David, and Steven Rabin to this year's booth to recreate their photo taken at the booth in the mid-'60s!

Connecting with our Community

CTA Chief Transit Officer Donald Bonds, Wilmette Library Board President Lisa McDonald, Wilmette Library Director Anthony Auston, and CTA Project Consultant Katherine Branch, celebrated the launch of the new drop box.

We were excited to introduce a convenient new book drop at the Fourth and Linden CTA station, making library returns easy for commuters and residents of east Wilmette. All of our book drops received a colorful makeover, so look for the purple boxes at Linden, Plaza del Lago, and the Community Rec Center next time you have materials to return.

Programming and services got us out of the building. Youth Services offered Wilmette and Kenilworth preschools a monthly delivery of books & STEM kits, providing 1,495 books and 42 STEM kits to the 9 participating schools. We enjoyed exploring the community with offsite book discussions, including the new Novels at Night group that meets at local restaurants. Professor Plum, our purple book bike, took to the streets in the past year, offering giveaways from the Library and the Friends, and greeting children and adults alike in parks, on the streets, and at the French Market.

The book bike visited Vattman Park in June.

Programs and Series

In April, we were awarded the American Creed: Community Conversations grant co-sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) centering around a PBS documentary by WTTW and curriculum exploring our national identity. The League of Women Voters of Wilmette facilitated the programming in conjunction with Adult Services staff, including screenings of the PBS film American Creed, book discussions, lectures, and an invitation-based series of living room conversations.

Programming took us in other new directions. Adults explored the Illinois bicentennial, took part in meaningful conversations at Death Cafe, explored health trends with Bollywood Dance and glowstick yoga; teens got into Dungeons and Dragons and snacked on pizza during exam weeks; and children had a summer of story times throughout the village and free play with the Imagination Playground big blue blocks.

Outdoor Renovation

Throughout the spring and summer, we renovated the Library’s grounds, updating and improving many of our exterior features. The updates provide a safe, attractive, open, and sustainable environment to welcome the community to the Library. The renovation features a refreshed lawn, expanded seating options, new bike racks, all native trees, shrubs, and plants offering year-round color and pollinator habitats, and entirely new hardscapes, including a high-efficiency snowmelt system to help keep sidewalks clear during winter months. We look forward to enjoying concerts and events on the updated lawn for years to come.

Reading Together

Celebrating and exploring literature is at the core of what we do at Wilmette Public Library. Our 2019 One Book Everybody Reads selection, The Lake on Fire by Rosellen Brown, brought the community together to venture through this epic work of historical fiction through book discussions and related programming highlighting the Gilded Age and 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Throughout the year, our many reading clubs provided opportunities for all ages to read and discuss books together.

Author Allen Woodrow at our Family Book Group.
Author and refugee Abdi Nor Iftin visited Wilmette to discuss his memoir, Call Me American.

Thank you to our community partners

We thrive on our relationships and connections throughout Wilmette. The Library continues to grow and develop its partnerships as we share in serving our wonderful community. Whether we are visiting a preschool, running a book group at Mather Place, or taking the book bike to the streets, we love meeting with you out in the community as much as in the Library.

The Friends of the Wilmette Public Library help make possible many of our signature programs, including One Book Everybody Reads and our Summer and Winter Reading Clubs, through funds raised in part from the proceeds of donated materials sold at Books Down Under - Wilmette’s only book store!

2018-2019 Partners: the Friends of the Wilmette Public Library, Go Green Wilmette, the League of Women Voters of Wilmette & Kenilworth, New Trier High School, School District 39, School District 37, SCORE, the Village of Wilmette, Wilmette/Kenilworth Chamber of Commerce, and Wilmette Park District.