Pride in being yourself

Ask Me About My Pronouns

Earlier this year, Library Assistant Hal Patnott (pictured above) saw an opportunity to spark conversations about gender identity with families in the Main Library Children’s Services department. As a transgender man who’s often mislabeled as “she,” Patnott said, “it gets exhausting after a while.” So he put up a sign at the service desk: “Ask … 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

Let’s grow early readers … in our parks!

Pop-Up Library storytime in Maple Park

The following letter to the editor, by staff from the Oak Park Public Library, the Collaboration for Early Childhood, New Moms, and the Park District of Oak Park, was published in the June 12 edition of the Wednesday Journal and has been lightly edited for our website. Although rewarding once you arrive, it’s not always easy to get to … Read more

Building reading into each day

1000 Books Jillian Zarlenga

This summer, families with young children who sign up for our summer reading program also have the opportunity to sign up for our 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program. It asks families to read—you guessed it—1,000 books together before their babies, toddlers, and preschoolers become kindergarteners. After finishing 1,000 books, each child gets to pick out a … Read more

Pop-up library in the parks

Two girls selecting books from the Book Bike

Share books, songs, and play in our parks Weather permitting, come check out books in Oak Park parks, engaging with neighbors, and signing up for our kids’ summer reading program, Reading Takes You Everywhere. Then, see where else the Book Bike will be this summer » “This idea stemmed from what we heard while talking with young families and … 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

Congrats on completing 1,000 Books, Elliott!

Elliott, 1,000 Books Finisher

At 19-months-old Elliott’s house, reading is definitely a priority! Here, Elliott poses for his celebratory “first finisher” photo, part of his formal recognition as the first child to finish the library’s 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program. Since its November launch, 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten has attracted more than 600 families to sign up with their … Read more

Our picks for best children’s titles 2018

Books displayed on a table: "Crown: Ode to a Fresh Cut," "Little Fox in the Forest," and "Windows."

Each year, our Children’s Services team loves to reflect (and vote!) on their personal picks for best titles in the world of children’s literature. The Caldecott and Newbery awards recognize the year’s best, according to the American Library Association. While 2018’s winners were announced Monday, our “mock vote” was last week, choosing Crown for the … Read more

Help strengthen your child’s ‘mind muscle’

Strengthening Your Child's Mind Muscle

Earlier this year, the Collaboration for Early Childhood circulated a community survey targeted at parents with kids ages 0–5, aiming to gather input on the resources and activities parents would like to see in our community. Through survey results shared with the library, we learned that local families want more resources and support for managing … Read more

Five ways we support lifelong learning from birth

Mom and baby reading

When it comes to learning, there is no such thing as starting too early. Research tells us how important it is to introduce literacy concepts to children in their first years of life, even as newborns. It’s why we strategically support parents, caregivers, teachers, babies, toddlers, and preschoolers—with library-based resources and expertise as well as … Read more

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