Libraries collaborate for the public good

People wear hard hats outside library building

As your public library, we love to share! And that includes sharing space with our neighbors.  “The ethical cornerstone of public libraries is that we want to benefit the public good, and sharing what we have is the way we do it,” says Skye Lavin, Manager of Adult Services at the Forest Park Public Library. … Read more

‘We are on the right path’: Thoughts on the Restorative Community Practices Conference

“It was love.” That’s how planning committee member Josh Easter summed up last weekend’s Restorative Community Practices Conference—three days of peace circles, panel discussions, workshops, meals, music, and conversation. The October 4-6 conference drew national experts, local activists and teachers, families with children, community leaders, and passionate individuals. Together, we took a deep dive into … Read more

Register now: Restorative practices to strengthen families, schools, and communities

Restorative Justice Conference participants

New! Watch the promotional video » Join us for the three-day Restorative Community Practices: Building Stronger Families, Schools, and Communities conference at the Main Library this October 4-6. Expanding on last fall’s restorative justice conference, this year’s conference takes a wider look at how restorative practices can be applied within families, schools, and communities. Also … Read more

Help set a course for the library’s future

Woman on cell phone using computer

A community needs survey is now underway The survey’s goals are twofold: to learn more about what keeps people from using library resources and to help shape how library spaces could and should be used in the future. Oak Park households receiving this random sample survey can choose to complete it on paper, online, or … Read more

Teen summer volunteers connecting with community

This year’s Teen Summer Volunteer program goes through the end of July, but already the community can see the efforts of the teen volunteers paying off. Since June 10, volunteer teams have been serving the community in various ways, including helping local organizations, creating outdoor public artwork, and showing younger kids why science, technology, engineering, … Read more

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

Building community: Tell us what you think

Building Community: Palaces for the People book cover

Inspired by this summer’s One Book, One Oak Park selection Palaces for the People by Eric Klinenberg, we are asking about and sharing community members’ perspectives on social infrastructure. This is what Klinenberg calls “the missing piece of the puzzle; and building places where all kinds of people can gather is the best way to … Read more

Welcoming new neighbors, building community

In April, New Moms Oak Park Center and Clare Place opened their doors to the community, inviting us in to see their beautiful new building at 206 Chicago Ave. The new location provides 18 permanent supportive homes for previously homeless families with young children, plus space for community programs and an outdoor playground. “For more … Read more

#BuildingCommunity through the use of free public space: Arabic Calligraphy Club brings families together

Mother and son writing in Arabic

Every Saturday, a group of families gathers at the public library for Arabic Calligraphy Club. Using free meeting room space at the Main Library, they bring supplies: plain white paper, pens and markers, canvases, bottles of ink. And, of course, snacks—a tin of butter cookies, a few tomatoes, falafel, chocolate. “It’s good family time,” says … Read more

Community is a common enterprise

man shaking hands woman in sweater

As he travels across the country and the world as president of The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, Rich Harwood said he finds a deep yearning for more connection. From Alabama to Israel, in Ohio and Michigan, people are wondering, “Do our lives matter? Will I be seen and heard? Does hope still matter?” “Without … Read more

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