Partnering for equity in education

How do you close the “homework gap”? In part, by working together. On Monday, June 10, Oak Park Elementary School District 97 Superintendent Dr. Carol Kelley, Oak Park Elementary School District 97 Senior Director of Technology Michael Arensdorff, and Oak Park Public Library Director David J. Seleb presented a webinar entitled “Closing the Homework Gap: … Read more

‘Catalyst’ grant connects mentors with youth bound for college and career

Emerging Leaders Network

As an 18-month grant-funded initiative to empower youth for college and career builds to a finish at the Main Library, those involved are calling it a “community catalyst” for the way it’s sparking opportunities, strengthening relationships, and energizing young people, families, and those who work with young people. “To catalyze something means you can walk … Read more

More Than a Month widens the lens in 2019

The Color of Art still

It started as a way to celebrate the black experience all year long, and not just during Black History Month. Now, almost 36 months later, the library’s More Than a Month series kicks off its fourth year with an expanded outlook and programs that promote conversation and year-round enrichment for all. ‘It’s both/and’ More Than … Read more

What grows with restorative justice?

Panelists Darrius Lightfoot, Quintin Williams, and Tim Crawford at the Restorative Justice Conference at the Main Library in October

The first time Chicago police officer Tim Crawford observed a peace circle, he was skeptical. But after a while, “I started to see—hold on—this works,” he said. “Especially with people who experience trauma on a regular basis. You’ve got to have a place to vent, to speak your truth.” Crawford (pictured far right) works with … Read more

Removing assumptions, barriers to access

Oak Park Stories

“People make a lot of assumptions about who is experiencing homelessness, based on how someone looks, acts, smells, or dresses,” said the library’s Director of Social Services and Safety Robert Simmons. “But really, you don’t know if someone is homeless unless they tell you.” As the Oak Park Homelessness Coalition notes in its 2016 Plan … Read more

Stories to reflect all families

Stories for all families

“When children cannot find themselves reflected in the books they read … they learn a powerful lesson about how they are devalued in the society of which they are a part.” —Rudine Sims Bishop, “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors” (1990) Bridging diversity gaps This spring, a new Children’s Services task force with diverse staff … Read more

Diversity, inclusion & equity in storytime

Raising a brave generation: embracerace.org

Early childhood literacy includes preparing our community’s babies, toddlers, and preschoolers to arrive “ready to learn” come kindergarten. As part of her intentional work to ensure diversity, inclusion, and equity in all storytimes, Early Literacy Librarian Shelley Harris recently shared a resource she’s found impactful in her everyday storytime work and when auditing Oak Park’s early childhood … Read more

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