2019 Year in Review Scroll down to begin

As 2019 draws to a close, we look back on a year that was all about looking forward. With our new strategic plan as our guide, we affirmed that we are driven by community, collaboration, compassion, and curiosity.

Youth librarian Caitlin helps patrons make puppets out of pool noodles in the Craft Room.

Through serving free lunches to local children during the summer, expanding access to WiFi hotspots, offering wellness programs like yoga and meditation for all ages, eliminating overdue fines on youth materials, and more, we've been focused on making life easier and better for everyone in Skokie.

Information specialist Neil listens to a patron at the Information Desk.

It was a year of milestones. We celebrated the 50th anniversary of Sesame Street with a party that even Oscar the Grouch enjoyed. Our Bookmatch service turned 10 years old, boasting almost 23,000 personalized recommendations made so far. More than 4,000 people of all ages joined their Friends and Neighbors for summer reading, earning badges and adding to the collaborative sticker wall. And we won an honorable mention from the Urban Libraries Council's Innovations Initiative for our Little President Portraits program.

Young Adult librarian Jarrett leads teens in a workshop called The Media Wants Your Brains (But They Can't Have Them).

We're focused on our community. This is your library. Let's take a closer look at just a few of the other moments that made 2019 special.

A super hero poses for a picture during Comics Fest.

A Resilient Community

We're working to build a more resilient community; one in which people experience well-being, including a strong sense of belonging and connection to one another.

Patrons celebrate the end of Summer Reading with games and crafts outside the library.

We're supporting parents with programs and resources, partnerships with local schools, community storytimes, and more.

With the YWCA, we offered workshops to help teens build the skills needed for healthy relationships. We worked with Turning Point to offer teens opportunities to connect with mental health professionals during a 10-week series called Let's Talk about it. Also with Turning Point, our new Better Together Book Club met regularly to read and discuss titles focused on health and well-being.

Our Career Action Group met twice a month to support community members seeing employment and career advancement. We also worked with volunteers to identify more ways to support new immigrants, seniors, and other special populations through one-on-one career sessions.

Our weekly Knit and Crochet All the Way group provided scarves, blankets, hats, mittens, and other handmade comforts to partner organizations.

The book bike features art by Jay Ryan of The Bird Machine.

Our book bike made its debut this year, visiting the Festival of Cultures, local parks, schools, and the Yellow Line CTA stop with books, craft activities, great conversations, and lots of smiles.

Patrons participate in a bookbinding workshop.

An Engaged Community

We are building a more engaged community, a community in which people have the knowledge, skills, empowerment, and sense of hope that they can make a positive impact on the life of their community.

Teens performing in "Martin Rising: Requiem for a King," adapted from the book by Andrea Davis Pinkney, who was in attendance.

Local teens participated in theater productions at the library, including A Midsummer Night's Dream, building connections with each other and engaging with audiences.

Our staff completed voter registration training so residents of Skokie can visit the library to get prepared to participate in elections.

Almost 300 babies, toddlers, and young children participated in our Grow a Reader program, which encourages and empowers parents to read with their youngsters to build early literacy skills and a lifetime love of learning before they've entered kindergarten.

Young patrons make tie-dyed t-shirts outside the BOOMbox.

We extended the themes of our experiential learning space into digital space with new episodes of our BOOMbox To-Go video series so that more people can enjoy the activities, whether or not they are able to attend a workshop.

We launched a Family Book Club for second and third graders and their grown-ups, bringing the community together through shared reading and activities. And we enjoyed visits from well-known authors, including a special event with New York Times best-selling author Anand Giridharadas, and a day of bicycle (and tricycle!) themed activities and conversation with Christina Uss.

Learning Experiences manager Amy leads a special Pride storytime.

An Inclusive Community

We're working to build a more inclusive community, one in which people actively seek to better understand themselves and others.

Materials page Andrew participates in a book discussion group for adults with disabilities.

Young people ages 11-16 with diverse needs enjoyed library activities and supportive relationships with trained peer volunteers in our Friend Squad series, which extended beyond the school year for the first time. We also debuted a new sensory-friendly program for young children called Gentle Play.

We offered new book and movie discussion options to broaden perspectives, including World Film nights. Local author Sonali Dev attended LitLounge to talk about her book, Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors, and discuss the importance of diversity and representation in literature.

Patrons of all ages learned from community presenters in our We Knead Bread series, listening to stories and learning to make different types of bread, including injera and challah.

Patrons were invited to post comments on our Black Histories, Black Futures exhibit.

Our third annual How-To Fest featured a wide variety of stations for patrons to explore, including henna, recycling, yoga, photography, and personal finance.

Our central lobby displayed a very special exhibit developed by staff entitled Prison Connections, which invited patrons into a maximum security prison to experience a comprehensive rehabilitation program and featured narratives from both volunteers and incarcerated participants.

Graffiti artist Stef Skills demonstrates her technique during a workshop.

Looking Ahead

As we move into 2020, we're starting an extensive renovation of our interior spaces. When it's complete, we'll be able to offer even better service in a beautiful environment that features abundant natural light, more spaces for events, twice as many study rooms, easier access to books and other materials, stroller parking, special equipment and digital tools for exploration and creative work, a cafe area, outdoor spaces for reading and relaxing, and so much more. We can't wait to reintroduce you to your library!

A mother reads to her baby during Together Time.


Youth Services librarians Mary and Gudrun at Together Time.

Skokie Public Library staff, volunteers, and Board of Trustees:

  • Mark Prosperi, President
  • Eugene F. Griffin, Vice President
  • Karen Parrilli, Secretary
  • Mira Barbir
  • Susan Greer
  • Jonathan H. Maks, MD
  • Magnolia Rivera-Pulex