May 18, 2021, 9:00 a.m.
- Approval of minutes for the January 26, 2021 meeting. (action required)
- Schedule of Requisitions, Contracts and Licenses (info only)
- CPL Capital Projects and Facilities Report (info only)
- Programming Update (info only)
- Commissioner’s Report (info only)
- Big Wins from First 90 days
- 2020-2024 Strategy Update and Playbook
- Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access Strategy
- True Name on Library Cards
- New Library for our Most Vulnerable
- Neighborhood Activation & Safety
- Open Chicago: Capacity and Continued Reopening Timeline
- Relaunching Sunday Hours Initiative
- Maker in Residence Update
- New Digital Collections
- HWLC / CBRE Wins BOMA (TOBY) Award
- Library of the Year Nomination (LOTY)
- Chicago Public Library Foundation Report (info only)
- Other Business
- Public Comment
Next Board meeting:
September 21, 2021, 9:00 a.m.
Open Session Minutes
Board Members in Attendance
Physically Present: None
Present by Means of Video or Audio Conference: Linda Johnson Rice, Christopher Valenti, Lynn Lockwood, Jodi Block, Alexi Giannoulias, Dominique Jordan Turner
Absent: Barbara Bowman, Ivy Walker, Patricia Perez
Approval of minutes for the January 26, 2021 Board of Directors meeting (action required)
The Board voted (6-0) to approve the minutes for the January 26, 2021 Board of Directors meeting.
Schedule of Requisitions, Contracts and Licenses (info only)
Baronica Roberson, Deputy Commissioner of Administration and Finance, presented the quarterly report on contracts and purchases made for magazines, books, databases, periodicals and articles of educational and instructional nature. For this quarter (January 1, 2021 – April 30, 2021), 3804 invoices totaling $3,546,499.68 were paid to various vendors. CPL is on track to spend the allocated amount for books and materials for the year. There also continues to be an increase in electronic materials purchased to support our remote patrons.
CPL Capital Projects and Facilities Report (info only)
Maggie Clemons, Deputy Commissioner of Library Operations and Patron Experience (LOPE) highlighted CPL’s current capital projects. Currently, no openings planned for this quarter.
Obama Presidential Center Branch (no changes) – Design by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects; project managed by OPC. Proposed scope includes 5,000 sq. ft. branch library on the Obama Presidential Center campus. Project is still in design development, CPL is reviewing plans with the architect; expected completion TBD.
2FM’s CARE Program – Select CPL locations have been undergoing 2FM’s CARE program “Clean and Repair Everything” which provides in-depth seasonal and deferred maintenance, carpet replacement or cleaning, paint and a general refresh of the facility on the part of CPL and 2FM staff. Projects have required branches to be closed short term for 3 to 4 weeks. West Lawn, Brainerd, Jeffery Manor, Greater Grand and Brighton Park are among the branches that will undergo the CARE program in 2021. South Chicago and Wrightwood-Ashburn branches were included in the list of branches that completed the CARE program in 2020. If budget allows, those branches will also receive new furniture that is more flexible and patrons are able to connect their devices to, to activate spaces within the South Chicago and Wrightwood-Ashburn locations.
Also, late in 2022, there will be an art installation coming to the Budlong Woods branch located in the 40th Ward, to activate the corner Lincoln Avenue. Community members voted in a participatory budget process dedicated to allocate funds for the implementation of this mural. The community will also vote on the artist as well as the mural design.
Mary Ellen Messner, 1st Deputy Commissioner provided an update on programming at CPL.
CPL is hosting 6th annual ChiTeenLitFest throughout the week of May 16-22 offering all virtual programs. Teens can join workshops, performances, and meet-ups and catch exclusive content from headliners Kara Jackson and Ric Wilson. This free event is held in partnership with MyChiMyFuture, The Poetry Foundation and 826CHI with major support from the Chicago Public Library Foundation.
As part of our summer initiatives, CPL’s summer programs will launch on June 28 and run through August 22. Our theme for summer 2021 is Make Summer Yours with a focus on art making for children, teens, families and adults. This is our inaugural year creating an umbrella brand that will build on our strong program participation among children, teens and families while creating a variety of programs for young adults and seniors. CPL will continue to offer its signature initiatives, the Summer Learning Challenge and the Teen Challenge, to give rise to young voices, create community, build collaboration, and cross borders.
For our youngest patrons (0-13 years of age) the program includes a take home guide with family activities designed around the theme of Chicago’s public art; grab and go kits hosted at local branches; centrally coordinated virtual programs every day of the week; and the option for branches to offer their own in-person programming. Kids who read for 500 minutes and complete five active learning activities will win their very own tote bag designed by local artist Simone Martin-Newberry, and one lucky winner from each branch will win a professional artist’s kit containing high-quality supplies to try a variety of art-making modes.
For adults, CPL has designed summer programming initiatives & activities specifically intended for adults that will include take home crafting kits. Using the adult craft kits materials, adult librarians will host virtual instructional programs at their respective libraries for the entire city to participate in. Adults will register online and request the kit to be sent to their local branch.
CPL is also hosting a variety of virtual programs for adults. On June 7th at 6PM, CPL will host a live streamed author event The Art of Road to Infamy with creators Jeffrey Chin and Andrew Nerger, where they will discuss how to create an immersive game experience and how they made decisions throughout their catalog to develop memorable characters and imaginative worlds all in 2D. Additional program options are available on the CPL website.
In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage in May, the library has arranged online events, book discussions, reading recommendations and an exhibit and workshop by artist Yuqing Zhu. This year’s theme focuses on healing, mourning and remembering. Event highlights include: Bystander Intervention Training with Advancing Justice, Ikebana for Everybody with Margo Wang, Mindfulness Meditation with the Shambhala Meditation Center of Chicago, Let's Get Zen with the Buddhist Temple of Chicago, Book Discussion of Interior Chinatown: A Novel by Charles Yu and The Art of Collage: Workshop with Yuqing Zhu.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of One Book, One Chicago program. The citywide reading program for adults, founded in 2001, has engaged tens of thousands of Chicago readers through the last few decades, and is the subject of an important NEH-funded study of the impact of citywide reading programs on adults, led by DePaul University researchers. Each year, a book and theme are chosen and over 100 programs are presented throughout the fall season. The 2021 book and theme will be announced this fall.
CPL is celebrating throughout 2021 with flashbacks, sharing of past programs, events revisiting some favorite moments in OBOC history, a commemorative poster available at all CPL locations, a reading challenge, specialized 20th anniversary merchandise, and more. The 20th anniversary will also provide an opportunity to reconnect with past OBOC selections and authors and celebrate the civic leaders who have provided two rich decades of reading and civic discourse.
Commissioner’s Report (info only)
Commissioner Brown presented the Commissioner’s report and highlighted the following:
- As part of his first 90 days, Commissioner Brown visited all 81 library locations and met 1:1 with each member of our senior team, our partners at the Foundation, and city leadership to learn about CPL on a local neighborhood level, and deeply understand our strengths and opportunities from multiple perspectives.
- In connection to CPL’s 2020-2024 Strategy, we’ve identified a series of big wins for the 2021 calendar year including but limited to:
- Expanded library access for working and religious households through Sunday hours
- Diversity, equity and inclusion aspirations and goals
- Empathetic homelessness support strategy
- Planning our post-COVID-19 digital literacy strategy
- Development of intentional system-wise programming standards
- CPL is participating in the City’s “Together We Heal” initiative that is aimed at building racial healing across Chicago. With the primary goal being for every Chicagoan to do their part to foster racial healing, learning, and restoration in every neighborhood across our City. As an outcome of “Together We Heal” each city department was asked to develop DEIA goals and strategies.
- CPL patrons can now choose the name they would like to appear on their library card. Internally, we are describing this process as using a patron’s true name regardless of what appears on their government-issued identification. Implementing this functionality allows CPL to be more inclusive for our patrons, including our transgender and non-binary communities.
- In partnership with the City, a new 12,150 square feet Altgeld Gardens Branch Library has replaced the old Altgeld Gardens Branch Library within the Altgeld Gardens Housing complex.
- As part of the Our City, Our Safety, a neighborhood activation pilot project, CPL is participating by lifting up Legler Regional as an anchor of the West Side and specifically the Madison and Pulaski corridor. This project is a place-based whole government response focused on specific corridors in East and West Garfield Park.
- To align with the City and the Open Chicago initiative, all CPL locations increased capacity to 50% on Sunday, April 18.
- CPL has relaunched our Sunday hours rollout, which was paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will add Sunday hour access at all CPL locations on Sundays by the end of 2021. A list of all branches currently open on Sundays is available by request.
- The Story of the Tin Can, an exhibition of works produced during Kate Conlon’s time as Maker-in-Residence with the Chicago Public Library, is currently available for viewing at the Harold Washington Library Center. Conlon was CPL’s first competitively selected Maker-in-Residence.
- CPL has released several new collections in 2021 and created a new website landing page for its digital collections, as well as a redesigned website landing page for Chicago history. Collections include:
- Harold Washington: Selected Speeches Digital Collection
- Illinois Writers Project: "Negro in Illinois" Collection
- George Cleveland Hall Branch Digital Collection
- HWLC has won the local The Outstanding Building of the Year (TOBY) award for the Public Assembly category.
- Mayor Lightfoot has nominated CPL for the prestigious 2021 Library of the Year Award, presented by the Library Journal. The award will be given to a library that has embodied equity, community service, creativity and innovation.
- The library also thanks the following staff for their dedication and service to CPL:
- Shannon Arends
- Matt Hauman
- Peter Iwanec
- Jimmie Pleasant
- George Tibbits Jr
- Alain Wolfe
Chicago Public Library Foundation Report (info only)
Brenda Langstraat, President of the Chicago Public Library Foundation, provided the Foundation report on behalf of the staff and Board of the Chicago Public Library Foundation, highlighting the following:
To date in 2021, CPLF has received the following support from donors for their work with the Library including but not limited to:
- Secured a total of 1,029 gifts
- Raised over $823,497 in total gifts and pledges.
- Welcomed 525 new donors
- Received major investments from several generous corporate partners including a one-time unrestricted gift from the Kemper Educational & Charitable Fund
Ms. Langstraat also announced that Foundation board is hosting a conversation between Commissioner Brown and WGNs Lourdes Duarte on May 19th. Lastly, the Foundation’s Associate Board kicked off a new virtual campaign this spring: Read-A-Thon 2021 on April 5th.
The board received feedback from Loree Woodley regarding accessibility concerns for virtual and in-person programs and events at the Library. Ms. Woodley is advocating for the library to make accessibility more of a priority to ensure that seniors and patrons with disabilities can fully utilize and access library services.
Next Board Meeting
The next board meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. Meeting will be held virtually.
Big Wins from First 90 Days
On my first day as Commissioner, I made a commitment to the CPL staff that I would visit each of our 81 library locations in my first three months on the job and meet 1:1 with each member of our senior team, our partners at the Foundation, and city leadership. My goal was to learn about CPL on a local neighborhood level, and deeply understand our strengths and opportunities from multiple perspectives.
I am pleased to say that I have accomplished these milestones, thanks in large part to the tactical support from the Library Operations and Patron Experience (LOPE) team who helped get the visits scheduled and accompanied me. Some of my anecdotal take-aways include opportunities to:
- Build on our role as neighborhood art destination
- Lift up programming excellence like Woodson Regional’s Reading Circle on Social Justice
- Explore opportunity to align early literacy support based on neighborhood need
- Exploring how to get every CPS child a library card.
I’ve also met with the Obama Foundation and Presidential Center team to talk about the design of that branch. With so many Chicagoans and visitors from outside Chicago coming to this space, this will likely be one of our most visible locations. We’re working collaboratively among our respective teams to ensure that the branch will enhance visitor experience to the Obama Presidential Center through physical design and with available resources and programming, while also providing a neighborhood library to the community. More to come.
2020-2024 Strategy Update and Playbook
Throughout much of 2020 CPL has pivoted and reimagined library service in COVID-19, and with Chicago reopening as a City, the Library plans to resume implementation of the 2020-2024 Strategy, and to that end has identified a series of big wins for the 2021 calendar year:
- Expanded library access for working and religious households through Sunday hours
- Diversity, equity and inclusion aspirations and goals
- Redesigned staff onboarding
- Empathetic homelessness support strategy
- Planning our post-COVID-19 digital literacy work
- Expanded access and convenience through City payment kiosks
- Improved internal communication systems
- Development of intentional system-wide programming standards
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access (DEIA) Strategy
In 2019 the City of Chicago launched the Office of Equity and Racial Justice (OERJ), which seeks to achieve equity in the City’s service delivery, decision-making, and resource distribution. The Office supports City departments in normalizing concepts of racial equity, and operationalizing new practices, policies and procedures for a fairer and just outcomes. Each city department was asked to develop DEIA goals and strategies.
CPL DEIA Goals: Through an RFP process, CPL will engage a DEIA consultant. CPL will work with the consultant on the following:
- Assessment Phase: CPL will capturing quantitative and qualitative data to inform a DEIA baseline and allow the organization to more deeply understand our current state and goals
- Developing defined and shared DEIA language
- Training management to lead and model DEIA work, and move from discussion to action
- Building staff buy-in and front-line engagement to prepare staff for DEIA work
- Scanning the City’s DEIA ecosystem to understand how we connect to the larger DEIA effort
- DEIA Planning: Drawing on the assessment data, CPL will develop a unique DEIA plan that supports the staff, Strategy, and Chicagoans
- DEIA Implementation: CPL will take a highly collaborative approach to bring our DEIA strategy to life.
- Evaluation: CPL will develop and commit to measures and a thorough evaluation of the assessment, plan, implementation, and progress.
Additionally, CPL will explore adding a permanent DEIA position to its 2022 budget.
True Name on Library Cards
CPL patrons can now choose the name they would like to appear on their library card when applying for a new card or updating their patron registration record. Internally, we are describing this process as using a patron’s true name regardless of what appears on their government-issued identification. Implementing this functionality allows CPL to be more inclusive for our patrons, including our transgender and non-binary communities. Staff will use the patron’s chosen name in any customer service interactions, and all library notices will be addressed with the patron’s chosen true name. The Broadway Youth Center assisted staff with training on this new option for patrons.
New Library for our Most Vulnerable
In partnership with the city, CPL is committed to revitalizing neighborhoods with the highest needs, including high unemployment, negative health outcomes, violence, and food insecurity. Altgeld Gardens Homes is a Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) public housing project located on the far southern border of Chicago, with approximately 1,500 units, consisting primarily of two-story row houses spread over 190 acres. This area has the highest percentage of people living in poverty and the lowest per capita income in the city.
As of 2021, a new 12,150 square feet Altgeld Gardens Branch Library has replaced the old Altgeld Gardens Branch Library within the Altgeld Gardens Housing complex. This investment provides Altgeld Gardens’ residents with an important cultural and community space for families and residents of all ages to learn, grow, and be inspired.
Neighborhood Activation & Safety
CPL is engaged in the Our City, Our Safety, a Neighborhood Activation pilot project, a place-based whole government response focused on specific corridors in East and West Garfield Park. The goal is to increase neighborhood safety by engaging community in the development and implementation of micro-level projects. CPL is participating by lifting up Legler Regional as an anchor of the West Side and specifically the Madison and Pulaski corridor. To help change the look and feel of the corridor and bring attention to Legler’s reopening after a yearlong renovation, CPL will add to the physical and programmatic services, including:
- Expanding Wi-Fi and adding furniture to the front lawn
- Installing banners on the building and street poles along the block
- Developing and facilitating a full programming calendar for Summer 2021
- Hosting a monthly produce market in partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository
- CPL will also be hiring 150 summer youth interns to support positive and safe out-of-school time
Open Chicago: Capacity and Continued Reopening Timeline
To align with the City and the Open Chicago initiative, all CPL locations increased capacity to 50% on Sunday, April 18. This next phase of reopening will reactivate beloved YOUmedia spaces, Maker Labs and community rooms. This increase is aligned with the current City and State reopening phases and adheres to CDPH guidance of maintaining six feet of physical distance. Updated Workplace and Service Delivery Guidelines were distributed to all staff April 21 with a timeline of upcoming key reopening milestones and dates in CPL’s continued reopening plan.
|Reopening Milestone||Target Date||Context|
|Patron Capacity Limits Increase||April 18||50% capacity in line with CDC guidance and current City and State phase|
|Workplace and Service Delivery Guidelines Distributed to Staff||April 21|
|Tiered and Hybrid Program Guidelines Distributed to Staff||May 3||In line with CDC guidance; pending CDPH review|
|End Library Material Quarantine Practices||May 3||In line with CDC guidance|
|Resume Cash Handling||May 3||In line with CDC guidance; free prints and free replacement cards will continue until further notice|
|Open Study Rooms for Public Use||May 17||With 50% capacity limits and public health guidance protocols|
|Open YOUmedia Spaces for Public Use||May 17||With 50% capacity limits and public health guidance protocols|
|Begin Maker Lab Equipment Reservations||May 17||With 50% capacity limits and public health guidance protocols|
|Resume Full Public Service Hours||May 17||Return to 8 hours at branches Monday-Saturday, 11 hours at HWLC and Regionals Monday-Thursday and 8 hours Friday and Saturday. No change for Sunday.|
|CPL Summer Programs Begin||June 28||In line with CDC guidance|
|Non-Public Facing Telework Staff Return||TBD||Timeframe based on Workforce Committee and City policy|
|Add Computers and Furniture; Continue to Increase Capacity||TBD||As CDPH recommends and social distancing allows|
Relaunching Sunday Hours Initiative
CPL has relaunched our Sunday hours rollout, which paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mayor Lightfoot and former CPL Commissioner Andrea Telli first announced the expansion in June 2019 as part of an ongoing effort to ensure library services are more equitable and accessible for Chicagoans. Thanks in large part to Mayor Lightfoot’s enthusiastic support and the addition of a number of new positions to our workforce last year, we will add Sunday hour access at all CPL locations on Sundays by the end of 2021. To add Sunday hours equitably, CPL factors in:
- Geographic coverage
- CHA and co-located facilities
- Impact based on use of location
- Current staffing capacity.
The following branches are currently open on Sundays 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.:
Austin, Back of The Yards, Chicago Lawn, Chinatown, Douglass, Dunning, Edgewater, Hall, Independence, Little Italy, Merlo, Mt. Greenwood, Northtown, Portage-Cragin, Richard M. Daley, South Shore, Toman, West Pullman, Whitney M. Young, Jr.
The Story of the Tin Can is an exhibition of works produced during Kate Conlon’s time as Maker-in-Residence with the Chicago Public Library and is currently available for viewing at the Harold Washington Library Center. Conlon was CPL’s first competitively selected Maker-in-Residence. At the start of the residency, Conlon used the library’s Maker Lab to design and prototype three sculptural workbenches that have served as platforms for making and for thinking. The objects shown atop the wooden workbenches respond to the holdings of Harold Washington Library Center’s Special Collections, specifically, a number of scrapbooks compiled at the time of the 1933-34 Century of Progress Exposition. CPL will have two online Makers-in-Residence in 2021, each being supported by a $6,000 stipend funded by the Chicago Public Library Foundation. The 2021 Makers-in-Residence will be announced in May.
New Digital Collections
CPL has released several new collections in 2021 and created a new website landing page for its digital collections, as well as a redesigned website landing page for Chicago history.
- Harold Washington: Selected Speeches Digital Collection. Harold Washington was a gifted orator and spoke at many public and private events, especially during his mayoral administration, 1983-1987. While audio recordings of his speeches are scarce, many of the original scripts survive. Topics covered are wide-ranging, including city budgets, anti-gang initiatives, Black history, racial discrimination, economics, housing and transportation. The original speech scripts in this digital collection, as well as other speech scripts, are housed in Special Collections at Harold Washington Library Center.
- Illinois Writers Project: "Negro in Illinois" Collection. The Illinois Writers Project, “Negro in Illinois” Papers contain research notes, transcripts, oral histories and original manuscripts intended to present a history of African Americans in Illinois from roughly the late 18th century to the early 20th century. As part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, the Illinois Writers Project, within the Works Progress Administration, created a special division with over a hundred researchers tasked with documenting the African American experience in Illinois from 1779 to 1942. The Illinois Writers Project collection is housed in the Vivian G. Harsh Collection of Afro-American History and Literature at Woodson Regional Library.
- George Cleveland Hall Branch Digital Collection. The George Cleveland Hall Branch Archives contain materials related to the operation of CPL’s Hall Branch, opened in 1932. The collection contains annual reports, branch bulletins, programs, fliers and memos from 1932 through the 1970s. The George Cleveland Hall Branch Archives are housed in the Vivian G. Harsh Collection of Afro-American History and Literature at Woodson Regional Library.
HWLC/CBRE Win BOMA The Outstanding Building of the Year (TOBY) Award
HWLC has won the local TOBY award for the Public Assembly category. HWLC is the largest public library in the northern hemisphere and the second largest in the world. The Harold Washington Library Center opened to the public on October 3, 1991 and is the Chicago Public Library "Mothership" of 81 library branches throughout Chicago. Harold Washington Library Center is managed by CBRE and owned by the City of Chicago. Congratulations to the entire team!
Library of the Year Nomination
To recognize staff for their dedication and service, Mayor Lightfoot has nominated CPL for the prestigious 2021 Library of the Year Award, presented by Library Journal. Given the unprecedented year, the award will be given to a library that has embodied equity, community service, creativity and innovation. In the past year, Chicagoans called on their library in unprecedented ways, and CPL staff answered that call – not only by reimagining and delivering essential library services safely during the pandemic, but also stepping up and stepping in to support vulnerable Chicagoans when they saw a need. The CPL nomination packet is available in the Board packet. Notification of award winners will occur later this spring.
- Shannon Arends: Branch Manager, Mt. Greenwood, 30 years of service
- Matt Hauman: Accountant I, HWLC, 27 years of service
- Peter Iwanec: Librarian IV, Oriole Park, 30 years of service
- Jimmie Pleasant: Senior Library Clerk, HWLC, 32 years of service
- George Tibbits Jr: Librarian I, Sulzer Regional Library, 36 years of service
- Alain Wolfe: Librarian II, HWLC, 43 years of service
Chicago Public Library Foundation Report
Brenda Langstraat, President & CEO of the Chicago Public Library Foundation, provided an update on behalf of the staff and Board of the Chicago Public Library Foundation and highlighted the following:
Contributions to Date
To date in 2021, we are pleased to report the following support from donors for our work with the Library:
- Secured a total of 1,029 gifts. Of these, 11 gifts were of $25,000 or more.
- Raised over $823,497 in total gifts and pledges.
- Welcomed 525 new donors, many of whom are participating in our spring event.
- Received major investments from The Allstate Corporation, CME Group Foundation, Amazon, Peoples Gas, and the Norfolk Southern Corporation, as well as many other generous corporate partners.
- Kemper Educational & Charitable Fund, usually a program-specific funder, has granted an additional, one-time unrestricted gift to support CPL’s work as the pandemic continues.
- The estate of Thomas F. Pick, who was a dedicated supporter of Teacher in the Library since 2000 and sadly passed last December, has included CPL for the Closing the Academic Opportunity Gap investment priority.
- Tomorrow, on May 19, the Library Foundation board is hosting a conversation between Commissioner Brown and WGNs Lourdes Duarte to explore the Library’s role in the healing and recovery of our city. The event is free, and all are welcome to attend. RSVP at https://meetcplcommissionerbrown.eventbrite.com.
- Our Associate Board kicked off a new virtual campaign this spring: Read-A-Thon 2021 (www.cplfreads.org). Engaging readers of all ages from around the country, it kicked off during National Library Week (April 5) and will culminate on the anniversary of National Read-A-thon Day (May 21). Because our public libraries are about fostering community, our goal is to bring people together at a time when we need each other most while doing an activity we all enjoy—reading! Everyone is encouraged to challenge friends and family to see who can read the most while supporting Chicago Public Library. To date, 449 readers have read nearly 3,300 books and helped to raise almost $80,000!