New spot to find peace & positivity at Maze Branch

If you’ve visited Maze Branch lately, you may have noticed a new spot to sit down and take a rest, on a green bench just outside the building entrance.

The inviting new PoSITivity Bench came to Maze Branch this spring, thanks to a local chapter of The Links, Incorporated. Made up of professional women of African descent, this international volunteer organization is focused on community service, including services to youth, the arts, and health and human services.

In June, members of the West Towns Links chapter visited with library staff to check out the PoSITivity Bench and talk about what their donation means to them.

From left to right: Gina Banks Eanes, West Towns Links Chapter President; Vinetta Washington, West Towns Links Friendship Co-Chair; Beverly Singleton, West Towns Links Friendship Co-Chair; Mary Hawkins, West Towns Links Services to Youth Co-Chair; Martyn Churchouse, Oak Park Public Library Manager of Patron Services; and Lori Pulliam, Oak Park Public Library Interim Executive Director

‘A spot to find peace’

“During the pandemic especially, we saw the need for a spot to find peace, reflection, and safety,” said Beverly Singleton, West Towns Links Friendship Co-Chair.

She and other Links members called the PoSITivity Bench’s new home—in a shaded spot along the walkway next to hydrangea trees—”tranquil” and “perfect.”

“I hope people can sit and think about happier, less stressful times, times that brought them peace,” Singleton said.

‘A perfect place for people to sit & meet’

Since the new PoSITivity Bench was installed in May, library staff have noticed community members of all ages using the bench—including a few who seemed to be friends having a reunion, sitting on the bench and catching up one afternoon.

“We’ve gotten lots of good feedback already from patrons,” noted the library’s Manager of Patron Services Martyn Churchouse, who came out to meet the West Towns Links members, along with the library’s Interim Executive Director Lori Pulliam.

Singleton said she hopes the PoSITivity Bench can be a place where kids can feel safe, come together with their thoughts, and find positive energy.

Similarly, West Towns Links Chapter President Gina Banks Eanes said she hopes the bench can prompt people to think about their surroundings and each other, about “collaborating and how we all work together.”

“It’s a perfect place for people to sit and meet,” Eanes said.

What’s everyone reading?

“As a child, the library was one of my favorite places,” said Vinetta Washington, West Towns Links Friendship Chair.

So, we couldn’t resist asking: What are you reading now, or what’s on your list?

Life Lessons: Two Experts on Death and Dying Teach Us About the Mysteries of Life and Living by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler
—Gina Eanes, Chapter President

The Other Side of Color by David C. Driskell
—Mary Hawkins, Services to Youth Co-Chair

Finding Me: A Memoir by Viola Davis
—Beverly Singleton, Member

The Warehouse by Rob Hart
—Vinetta Washington, Friendship Co-Chair