Empowering every voice Scroll down to begin

Oak park public library: 2018 year in review

What matters to you? What kind of community do you want to live in? Whatever your answers, whoever you are, know your public library exists for you—and for everyone. We connect people and community, educate global citizens, and sustain, share, and respect community resources. Every single day, we strive to empower every voice in our community. Read on to find highlights of how you made an impact with us in 2018.

Opening image: In 2018, nearly half of all Oak Park students in grades K3 participated in our summer reading program, which is open to all kids from birth through high school. Through fun activities, learning and service opportunities, and reading challenges designed to broaden horizons, more kids stayed engaged with the program all summer long, compared with 2017.

Connecting with each other & community

“I asked myself: How can I make a difference? Can I find something that I am good at and contribute?” —Participant in a One Book, One Oak Park discussion

one inspiring book

One Book, One Oak Park brought us together around Kevin Coval’s A People’s History of Chicago. With more than 400 people attending 16 events, and more than 7,000 video views of library staff reading their favorite poems from the book, we connected both in person and virtually over historically overlooked perspectives from working people, poor people, and people of color. With field trips around Oak Park and Chicago, we confronted local, regional, and American history, connecting the past with the present. Read more about the series meant to “shake, wake, provoke curiosity” »

Accessing information & opportunities to learn

“People see this kind of summer school and say, maybe the system can change.” —Frances Kraft, co-founder of the Equity Team (E-Team)

A fresh take on summer school

In July and August, we hosted a lively weekday summer school designed to reimagine summer school. The free Power of Partnerships program brought 55 students going into grades 2–8 together with community partners for four weeks of math, reading, and writing, plus dancing, yoga, spoken word, programming, and more. The goal? To help families and school staff work together as partners, and to be an incubator for new approaches to learning and achievement. The library is “a welcoming place where families can go not just to get a book, but to get support for their families,” said Frances Kraft, co-founder of the E-Team. “That’s why it made perfect sense to ground this work at the library.” Read more about our summer school experiment »

Sharing & respecting our resources

"We’re making the collections more and more accessible, both physically and online. It’s our history, and we're keeping it alive.” —Leigh Tarullo, Curator of Special Collections

oak park’s historical treasures

The artifacts in Special Collections—high school essays by Ernest Hemingway, architectural drawings by Frank Lloyd Wright, photographs of Oak Park in the late 1800s—bring our local history to life. With the help of 500+ volunteer hours, in 2018 we made our historical collections more accessible to the public than ever before. We also continued our commitment to conserving these treasures, and the investment is paying off. “Looking ahead, 2019 will be a huge year for researchers using our collections, including authors, filmmakers, and academics,” Tarullo said. “It’s no longer a hidden collection.” Read more about how we conserved one prominent piece of our history »

Thank You, Donors & Friends

When you give locally, you choose to share a gift that nurtures ideas, spreads knowledge in and around Oak Park, and supports civic engagement. You support freedoms to read, to learn, and to individual privacy. Your local loyalty and generosity help a 116-year-old institution, dedicated to literacy and community connection, continue to be accessible to all. Learn more about giving to the library »

We are grateful to the Friends of the Oak Park Public Library, who, as a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, raise funds for the library and make community connections. Join our Friends anytime by choosing the annual tax-deductible membership level that’s best for you.

  • SUSTAINING MEMBERS ($500–$999): Nancy Clark
  • BENEFACTORS ($100–$499): Jean Edwards (in memory of Charles Jones Sr.), Joan Fiscella, Nancy Hartman, Paul and Patricia Koko, Joe and Judy Larscheid, Bill and Elaine Moor, Mary L. Morrison Living Trust, Don Nekrosius, Chet & Barbara Purrington-Taranowski, David J. Seleb, Derek and Antonieta Garcia-Strain, and Carol Wiiken
  • DONORS ($50–$99): Red Planet Books, Mary Gibbons, Eleanor Marquez, Kathy Rush, and Elizabeth Streit
  • PATRONS ($25–$49): Nick Abbate, Rich and Doris Adamczewski, Beverly Applebaum, Ken Artrip, John and Kathleen Bell, Jane Bularzik, Denise Canterbury, James Chamberlain, Brian Chan, John Cooper, Terri Crum, David Dann, Tesse Donnelly, Eddie Francis, E. Glass, Bob Hall, Brian Hensen, Robert Janowski, Robert John, Michael Kalnins, Elizabeth Keeperman, Chris Keeperman, Aaron Lipplt, Armand Locguloa, Kenneth Luurs, Adam Mednick, Nancy Mix, Steve Mix, Scott Mohr, Bill Moore, Walter Moore, Michelle Panicola, Pete Piecha, Mary Ann Porucznik, Sarah Rodrigueq, Daniel W. Rosser, Andra Schroeder, Ray and Barbara Sedivec, Robert T. Setlik, Suzanne Smith, Alan Solid, Charles H. Stats, Charles Stecy, Mark Teachworth, Sally Tyc, Mary Umberger, Ron Vobornik, Duwanna L. Wall, Mary Wasek, and Stan and Lin Wilson

Each month, we experience 60,000 library visits and 400 in-the-community interactions in Oak Park. All this makes for more great stories than we can include here. Find out about what’s happening now »

Our vision is to empower every voice in our community. Our mission is to share the information, services, and opportunities that fulfill Oak Park’s aspirations.

Throughout 2019, we will continue to learn from and act on what our community tells us it needs to thrive. We want to hear from you. Please join the conversation at oppl.org/listen »

—Executive Director David J. Seleb

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