‘My mantra is to provide excellent customer service’

“Every time I walk through the doors of the library, the mantra I keep in my mind is: ‘To provide excellent customer service,’” says Rashmi Swain, Adult Education and Job Seekers Librarian. With 15 years of service to the library, Swain (pictured above, center) is among those celebrating milestone anniversaries this year. She and other … Read more

‘So excited to see their home languages’

Our summer reading program is open to all kids, wherever they live. And this past summer, we were able to better share it with kids who are new to the United States and still learning English. For the first time, we translated summer reading guides into multiple languages, including Albanian, Japanese, Polish, and Vietnamese. Librarian Genevieve … Read more

More Than a Model: Community members collaborate with us to share cultural heritage

In May, Oak Park residents Pem Hessing, Nicole Sumida, and Yoko Terretta organized a family celebration at the Main Library in honor of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. In addition to literary readings, fine art, food, and martial arts demonstrations, they celebrated notable Asian Americans and also challenged definitions of who is considered … Read more

Let’s celebrate! 1,000 Books turns 2

This November, our early literacy program 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten turns 2. And to celebrate these not-at-all-terrible twos, we’re highlighting a few graduates of the long-term program.  To help prepare our community’s babies, toddlers, and preschoolers to arrive at kindergarten ready to learn, the program asks families to read 1,000 books together before their child … 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

‘My mission is transmitting the folklore’: A volunteer’s story

Of all the Peruvian folk dances that Oak Park resident Kathy Valdivia has studied and taught, her favorite is the Huaylarsh. It’s “a happy dance,” she says, one that recalls agricultural work and courtship among young people in the central Andean highlands of Peru, where Valdivia is originally from. When Valdivia (pictured) moved to Oak … Read more

‘A place at the table’: Community members collaborate with us to share cultural heritage

Oak Park resident Dima Ali, who organized a family Ramadan celebration at the Main Library in May

In April, Oak Park resident Dima Ali (pictured above) came to the library with a concern—and an idea. Ramadan was coming up in May, and there were no public programs yet planned at the library to recognize it, this holy month of spiritual reflection and fasting for Muslims around the world.  “There is a need … 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

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