Multicultural Collection & Services

Oak Park is a community committed to diversity and developing global citizens. On this page, find events, Multicultural Virtual Learning videos, Multicultural Collection information, and more from your public library.


What’s new

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Upcoming events

See a full list of upcoming multicultural programs and displays in the Idea Box »


Multicultural virtual learning: A video series

Join us to explore items and cultures with Miss Juanta and friends through the Multicultural Virtual Learning video series.

‘My Black History’: ‘Black history is the history of humanity itself’

“Black history does not start, nor does it end with slavery; it is boundless and evolving,” says Juanta Griffin, Multicultural Learning Coordinator. “Black history is the history of humanity itself, and each of us has much to learn.”

This 40-minute video features history told from the perspective of individuals across the African Diaspora, which were collected by Juanta during a year-long project.

As the Ubuntu word represents the philosophy “I am because we are,” and the Adinkra symbol Sankofa means “using the past as a way to the future, or to retrieve,” these eight community members’ stories give a glimpse of our culture beyond our neighborhoods.

“All of our histories are connected. The humanity of Black history, Haitian history, South African history, Gullah history, Nigerian history, and all of our histories are connected, and focus on the oneness,” says Juanta. “I am because we are.”

Multicultural videos listed alphabetically


When learning about cultures, artifacts are useful tools. Now at Dole Branch through February: a new African Art exhibit featuring African artifacts.

About the Multicultural Collection

What is it?

The Multicultural Collection contains artifacts from around the world and is curated to help our community explore cultures and build empathy.

Housed at the Dole Branch Library, the collection is full of thousands of cultural resources. It includes artifacts like handmade textiles, games, and dolls from around the world.

The collection is a great learning resource for individuals, families, and classrooms. Most of the collection is available for library cardholders to borrow for up to four weeks.

How do I browse items in the collection?

You can browse items at Dole Branch or search the collection in the library catalog.

About 100 items come with an object card, an informational card that describes what the object is, where it’s from, and the story behind it. Each card includes questions and prompts to spark curiosity. Find a list of items in the collection with object cards »

More about the collection

Why have a Multicultural Collection? In a time and place of intercultural conflicts and misunderstandings, the Multicultural Collection helps individuals, families, and educators:

  • Explore cultures. We can learn about other cultures, both past and present.
  • Understand identities. We can learn about our own cultures, and understand how our cultural lenses affect the way we see and interact with the world.
  • Build empathy. Our ultimate goal is to build intercultural empathy, to understand cultures in their own terms, to explore our commonalities, and learn from our differences.

Cultural artifacts are powerful tools for learning about a culture in new and different ways. They’re engaging and hands-on, giving you a direct, tactile connection with the creators. They spark curiosity and are accessible: anyone can learn something with an object.

How the collection was born: In 2016, Oak Park Elementary School District 97 transferred ownership of its collection to the public library. The many artifacts and materials used in classroom learning had outgrown their available school space. Today, the library is proud to be able to provide public access and a commitment to ongoing curation.

Watch this video of Lynn Allen, who started this collection at District 97 nearly three decades earlier.

Stay current on news and new arrivals.

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