Relevant reads: Culture

Book covers for Magical Negro, They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us, and Wayward Lives Beautiful Experiments on painted canvas

By Collection Management Librarian Dontaná McPherson-Joseph Culture is created, manifested, and maintained. It cannot not exist without people actively perpetuating it, and it does not exist in a vacuum. These books explore Black culture in America, how it shapes and is shaped by music, and the ways racial and socioeconomic inequalities influence it. You can find … Read more

‘Filled with the spirit of unity’: Community members collaborate with us to share cultural heritage

This year’s Community Kwanzaa Celebration will be the third one that Oak Park resident Juanta Griffin has organized at the Main Library. Here, Griffin shares what the celebration means and what she’s looking forward to this year. “We believe that inclusion fosters understanding, and understanding builds respect, and with respect there can be peace,” she … 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

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

‘Rich in resources when we engage’

Did you know there’s a barbershop inside the Oak Park Public Library? Twice a month, the Main Library Idea Box brings in local barbers to give free haircuts to anyone who comes in.  All are welcome, including children and teenagers. And on Friday, May 17, from 2 to 6 pm, it’s turning into a space … 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

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