Board of Directors Meeting Minutes – November 16, 2021


November 16, 2021, 9:00 a.m.

Virtual Meeting

  1. Approval of minutes for the September 21, 2021 meeting (action required)
  2. Schedule of Requisitions, Contracts and Licenses (info only)
  3. 2022 Board of Directors Meeting Schedule (action required)
  4. 2022 CPL Budget Overview / Kelly Fund Budget Approval (action required)
  5. CPL Capital Projects and Facilities Report (info only)
  6. Programming Update (info only)
  7. Commissioner’s Report (info only)
    • City Council Budget Hearing
    • Obama Presidential Center Program Plan
    • Vaccination Status
    • Sunday Hours Progress
    • Accessibility
    • Staff Leadership
    • Alumni Achievement Award
    • TOBY International Winner
    • New Hires, Departures and Retirements
    • Library Holiday Schedule
  8. Chicago Public Library Foundation Report (info only)
  9. Other Business
  10. Public Comment

Next Board meeting: TBD / Virtual Meeting

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, Barbara Bowman, Ivy Walker, Michelle Boone, Sandra Delgado

Absent: Dominique Jordan Turner


Approval of minutes for the September 21, 2021 Board of Directors meeting (action required)

The Board voted (8-0) to approve the minutes for the September 21, 2021 Board of Directors meeting.

Schedule of Requisitions, Contracts and Licenses (info only)

Teri Campbell, CPL’s 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 (August 16 – October 31, 2021), 2,915 invoices totaling $1,739,464.73 were paid to various vendors. Costs are in line with normal spending with no anomalies.

2022 Board of Directors Meeting Schedule (action required)

The proposed dates for the 2022 Board of Directors Meeting Schedule is as follows:

  • Tues, January 18, 2022 at 9AM
  • Tues, May 17, 2022 at 9AM
  • Tues, September 20, 2022 at 9AM
  • Tues, November 15, 2022 at 9AM

The Board voted (8-0) to approve the 2022 Board of Directors Meeting Schedule. These meetings will be held virtually until further notice.

2022 CPL Budget Overview/ Kelly Fund Budget Approval (action required)

Teri Campbell, Deputy Commissioner of Administration and Finance, provided an overview of the CPL budget that was recently approved by City Council. For 2022, the total budget requested is $180,817,000. This budget includes: City Operating budget of $130,630,327, this portion of the library fund is directly controlled by the Library Commissioner; Services through AIS $19,918,254, provided to maintain all of the libraries facilities; Other City Support $27,143,419, traditionally shared amongst the city and includes employee benefits and workers comp; Chicago Public Library Foundation budget of $3,000,000, approved by the CPLF board in preparation to offer in person programming and events next year. The 2022 budget is roughly a $22M increase from the previous year, largely due to significant state capital construction funding, the hiring of an a new equity officer in 2022 and an increase in the collections budget.

CPL is requesting Board approval for $125,000 from the Kelly Fund to support professional development training for staff and planning for special programs and events. Since programming was mostly paused in 2021 due to the pandemic, $114,800 is carryover from the previous year’s budget request.

The Board voted (8-0) to approve the 2022 Kelly Fund Budget request.

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.

Active Projects – (No change) The Richard J Daley branch, located in Bridgeport is still undergoing renovations. The project is being led by AIS. The renovation project is funded using TIFF funds. Upgrades include a new circulation desk, updated restrooms, tuck-pointing, new lobby and finishes on the floor.

2FM’s CARE Program – Select CPL locations have been undergoing AIS’s (formerly 2FM) 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 AIS staff. Projects have required branches to be closed short term for 3 to 4 weeks. Library locations that have completed the CARE program in 2021 include Brainerd, Jeffrey Manor, and Greater Grand Crossing, with Brighton Park recently completing the process and is now also open on Sundays. The West Lawn location will be the last branch to complete the CARE process this year.

CPL’s Executive Team and District Chiefs are working with AIS to determine which locations will be selected to undergo the CARE program in 2022.

Programming Update (info only)

Mary Ellen Messner, 1st Deputy Commissioner provided an update on programming at CPL.

CPL Programming Framework

Chicago Public Library is embarking on an effort this winter to develop a unique CPL Programming Framework. The need for this work was identified as part of CPL’s 2020-2024 Strategy, and is being supported with grant funding from the MacArthur Foundation. A Steering Committee, made up of branch managers and librarians from across CPL will guide this work.

The completed Framework will include guidelines and standards to support program design and delivery across the system, as well as a set of tools that branch managers and librarians, central program teams, and other leaders can use to plan, create, and assess programming quality and impact. The Framework will lift up the best of what CPL does and shine brightly on the programming excellence and quality we currently deliver. While programming may look different right now due to COVID, we are doing this work to help us plan for the future of our library post pandemic and allow us to prepare for what library programs can look like.


The week of October 24-31, CPL Children’s and Teens’ staff held over 150 events for youth and families with more than 2500 participants.

Event Highlights include:

  • Halloween on the Block
  • Spooky Stories Come Alive with Kucha and Baba Tony
  • Animal Quest Petting Zoo
  • Halloween Puppet Workshop
  • Halloween Portraits and Costume Parade
  • We Are Going to Make a Piñata!

Winter Break

CPL’s Winter Break program for kids and families Stories in Motion is based on the idea of an at-home family film night. The programs components include but are not limited to an activity log with conversation prompts (both online and on paper) that will be delivered to all branches; guiding parents in how to discuss elements of a story using a family movie night as the starting point to understand plot, character, and point-of-view. The log also includes links to CPL resources, including a book list and links to our streaming film databases.

In-person programs and family movie screenings will be offered at select branches.

This year marks the 7th annual Teen Winter Challenge which will run from January 1st through March 1st.

This year's theme will revolve around the concept of legacy and leaving a mark, inspired by Harold Washington's centennial birthday. For the competition, teens can submit 1-3 works of art in any visual medium.

We will highlight at least one sample from each portfolio in a printed catalog that will be entered into the CPL collection. Winning portfolios will receive additional exhibition opportunities as well as monetary prizes to aid in their artistic journey.

Teen Gamer’s Guild

12 Teens have been hired to plan and implement a GameCon at Harold Washington Library Center in June 2022. The teens will also design and run 8 lead up events at library branches (Feb-Mar 2022). The group is led by 5 teen staff members from different branches in a hybrid in person/virtual program. The GameCon will focus on diversity, inclusivity and amplifying the voice of teen gamers – and fun!

One Book, One Chicago

The One Book, One Chicago (OBOC) season finale event will take place on Thursday December 2 at 6pm on CPL's YouTube and Facebook pages. We will celebrate the season finale of OBOC’s 20th year with a very special conversation. Eric Charles May, author of Bedrock Faith, joins Booklist Editor Donna Seaman for a conversation about his writing, the book, and Chicago as a character.

Native American History Month

During the month of November, CPL will join the nation in paying tribute to the ancestry, traditions and contributions of Native Americans. This year, we celebrate (Re)Taking Up Space, inviting all to listen to our guest speakers talk about unceded lands, celebrate representation and inclusion in contemporary media and learn more about important issues such as the movement for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit People. Month long events, programs and book discussions have been calendared.

Commissioner’s Report (info only)

Commissioner Brown presented the Commissioner’s report and highlighted the following:

  • At the recent City Council Budget Hearing, there was expressed interest in the library’s capital budget. The Library does not have a dedicated budget for new capital projects or renovations. Funding for these projects has been supplied using TIF funds and co-located developments.
  • For 2022, CPL will receive a 25% increase to its collection budget; putting CPL on par with Brooklyn Public Library and Broward County Library’s collection budget.
  • In partnership with the Office of Equity and Racial Justice, CPL will add teen service staff to branches located in the 15 most at risk areas.
  • CPL will install renewable energy at CPL locations, targeting libraries in lower income, climate vulnerable, and BIPOC communities.
  • CPL will be working with Margaret Sullivan Studio (MSS) on a programming plan and design to inform the interior of the Obama Branch.
  • CPL staff are now required to be vaccinated or committed to weekly testing, as part of the City’s vaccination policy.
  • As of October 24th, Sunday hours have been implemented at 53 of CPL’s 81 library locations.
  • Accessibility information is now available on the CPL website. Patrons can now determine which library locations have access to ADA parking, ramps, lifts or elevators. 
  • Commissioner Brown recognized staff that have demonstrated leadership through organizing or presenting at conferences this year.
  • Commissioner Brown also acknowledged Stacie Williams, CPL’s Library Division Chief of the Archives and Special Collections department, for her being awarded the 2021 Alumni Achievement Award by the Alumni Board of the Simmons University School of Library and Information Science.
  • Harold Washington Library Center received the 2021 TOBY International Award for the Public Assembly Category.
  • CPL welcomed Erin McKinnie as the new Central Library Director on October 18th.
  • Commissioner Brown thanked CPL’s dedicated staff that retired between September through November of this year.
  • All CPL Library locations will be closed: Thursday, November 25; Friday, December 24; Saturday, December 25; Friday, December 31, 2021; and Saturday, January 1, 2022.

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, donors have contributed $3.5M across all funding sources, with $1.5M of that being raised for the 2021 Library Foundation Awards. A special thanks to BMO Harris Bank for being the Presenting Sponsor for the Awards event. Additional major investments were also received from various corporate and foundation partners.
  • The Foundation Awards event held on November 2nd was a huge success. Awardees included: Amy Tan, J. Nicole Brooks and Theaster Gates. An online broadcast of the event was offered on November 9th; a link to watch the event is also available on the CPLF website.
  • The CPLF portion of the CPL budget will be reviewed by Foundation Board on November 18th.

Public Comment

The board received comments from the public recognizing the Assistive Resource Center and staff for providing great service and support to patrons with disabilities. The Chicago Public Library Foundation was also acknowledged for hosting the awards event and making it accessible. There is also an interest in CPL offering programs for patrons with impairments.

Next Board Meeting

The next board meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 25, 2022 at 9:00 a.m. The meeting will be held virtually.

Commissioner’s Report

City Council Budget Hearing

Capital Budget

At the Library’s budget hearing several Alderman expressed interest in CPL’s capital funding, the importance of a capital budget, and requested a comparison of the library’s capital budget to peer libraries throughout the country. While CPL does have a capital maintenance budget managed in coordination with the department of Assets, Information and Services (AIS)--outside of maintenance--the library does not have a dedicated budget for new capital projects or renovations. In recent years, CPL has depended on Tax Increment Funding (TIF) through coordination with Aldermen, or co-located developments with the Chicago Housing Authority, such as the Altgeld, Independence, Little Italy, and Northtown branches. In 2021 CPL has been allocated $33.6 million in one-time funding for capital development including a Back of the Yards Branch and Galewood Branch.

Collection Budget

Mayor Lightfoot’s 2022 budget included a 25% increase to CPL’s collection budget. The increase was informed by CPL staff analyzing the library’s expenditure per capita on library material compared with peer libraries. This increase will put CPL on par with Brooklyn Public Library and Broward County Library’s collection budget. CPL staff will continue to look at and analyze key performance indicators with the Office of Budget Management to inform our budget strategy.

CPL Equity Goal

As part of our city-wide equity work and in partnership with the Office of Equity and Racial Justice, CPL created an equity goal for 2022. CPL will be adding teen service staff to the branches located in the 15 most challenging city beats for safety. These are staff tied to the Sunday hours initiative and will not have a budget impact, while at the same time ensuring that these neighborhoods have positive out-of-school teen programming.

Library Solar Project

70% of the City's carbon emissions come from buildings and facilities, and so a major step in mitigating climate change is pursuing high energy-efficient buildings. Research suggests that solar updates can double the time (1.8 to 3.6 days) that a building can operate without external sources of power. As part of the 2022 City Budget, CPL will install renewable energy at CPL locations, targeting libraries in lower income, climate vulnerable, and BIPOC communities. The $5 million project will cover 5 CPL locations.

Obama Presidential Center Program Plan

In partnership with the Obama Presidential Center (OPC) and with funding from the Library Foundation CPL will be working with Margaret Sullivan Studio (MSS) on a programming plan and design to inform the interior of the Obama Branch. The Branch will be the first public library on a U.S. Presidential Library site, and will be unique, we most visitors will be on site for the OPC. The plan will include a facility plan, service staffing model, and activities and programs strategy. MSS is a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) and known leader in library design with clients having included the New York Public Library, Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, Salt Lake City Public Library System, and Memphis Public Libraries.

Vaccination Status

As the City’s public library, CPL serves everyone, including and often, vulnerable communities like the housing insecure, elderly, and our youngest readers not yet vaccinated. In accordance with the City’s vaccination policy, CPL staff are now required to be vaccinated or committed to weekly testing. As of November, 99% of Chicago Public Library staff have followed through with reporting their vaccination status or testing outcomes, with 93% of staff being vaccinated. 

Sunday Hours Progress

In April 2021, CPL resumed adding Sunday hours with the goal of having all 81 locations open seven days a week with a targeted completion date being end of calendar year.  On October 24 CPL moved a step closer to having all locations open on Sunday, adding eight more branches. Currently 53 of 81 branches are open on Sunday with the initiative being 65% complete. HR is in the process of adding over 100 staff between now and the end of the year to support this work. On average Sunday branches are seeing 100 visits each week, or thousands across our city. Once all branches are open CPL will be able to market this additional day of service city-wide.

Locations are chosen based on current staffing capacity, positions slated to be filled, and geographic coverage. Locations opened on October 24 include:

  • Archer Heights
  • Beverly
  • Brainerd
  • Kelly
  • Lincoln Park
  • Logan Square
  • McKinley Park
  • West Englewood


Through our commitment to helping make Chicago a more accessible City, CPL has added accessibility information on our website for library locations. Visitors to the library website will now find information about the location of ADA parking, the presence of ramps, lifts, or elevators. CPL will continue to look for ways to increase accessibility and continue to work in partnership with the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities.

Staff Leadership

  • 2021 Latinx Connect Conference: Elevating Latinx Identities and Contemporary Issues. Detangling and Weaving the Latinx Diaspora through Library Programs - Presenters: Marielle Colon and Daylily Alvarez
  • Illinois Library Association / Advisory Online: Transferring Your Skills to Social Media and Beyond -Presenter:  Tiffany Breyne
  • Illinois Library Association / Today There Are Many of Us, Tomorrow There Will Be More: BIPOC Students and Library Workers Meet and Greet - Presenter: Kyra Lee
  • 11th National Conference of African American Librarians (7/28-8/1) / Culture Keepers XI the Sankofa Experience: Inspired by Our Past, Igniting Our Future - Presenter: Jordan McKenna; Sulzer Regional Library 
  • Bibliocommons / Supporting and Welcoming LGBTQ2S+ Kids, Young Adults and Families at the Library: Panel Discussion - Presenters: Alex Falck; Children Services at Sulzer Regional Library and Justin Shannin; Teen Services at Harold Washington Library Center

Alumni Achievement Award

Stacie Williams has been awarded the 2021 Alumni Achievement Award by the Alumni Board of the Simmons University School of Library and Information Science. This award is presented annually to a SLIS graduate who has demonstrated significant achievement in the library and information professions and who has also demonstrated excellence in a way that exceeds the boundaries of their current position by achieving influence as an outstanding role model for library and information professionals. Stacie is being recognized for her work with the Blackivists team and her success and leadership in the Archives and Special Collection Division of the Chicago Public Library. She has been invited to speak virtually to current SLIS students and alumni this fall about her career and work.

TOBY International Winner

The Harold Washington Library Center has been awarded the 2021 TOBY International Award for the Public Assembly Category. The Award was announced at the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International in Boston. Harold Washington Library Center is managed by CBRE and owned by the City of Chicago.

New Hires, Departures and Retirements

New Hires - Erin McKinnie as New Central Library Director

We are thrilled to announce Erin McKinnie as the new Central Library Director! Erin stared on October 18th! Erin's responsibilities will include managing the services and operations of Harold Washington Library Center and oversight of the public facing service departments. She joins the LOPE Team and will lead the CAT Team.

Some initiatives she'll be tasked with include: 

  • Aligning services, programs, and operations to the Strategic Plan
  • Assessing department structures and providing suggestions for improved efficiencies
  • Exploring and determining the role of the Central Library  
  • Supporting the continued development and implementation of Collective Care
  • Reimaging and redeveloping spaces to align with 21st Century public library services

Erin earned her B.A. degree in Art History from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas and Master of Library Science degree from Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas. She most recently worked at Northbrook Public Library as a Circulation Manager where she successfully led the department of 40 people through an ILS migration to Polaris; completed a department restructuring; added RFID, self-check machines, and an Automated Materials Handler; and lastly was the Project Manager for a first-floor renovation project, that included the lobby, circulation workroom, staff lounge, and staff restrooms. 


  • Margot Menchaca - Library Clerk, Archer Heights, 26 years of service
  • Craig Davis – Director of Adult Services, HWLC, 24 years of service
  • Deborah Burns - Librarian III, Coleman, 47 years of service

Library Holiday Schedule

All CPL Library locations will be closed on the following days:

  • Thursday, November 25, 2021
  • Friday, December 24, 2021
  • Saturday, December 25, 2021
  • Friday, December 31, 2021
  • Saturday, January 1, 2022

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 for our work with the Library:

  • To date this year donors have contributed $3.5M across all funding sources, including approx. $1.5M raised for the 2021 Library Foundation Awards. All funds raised for the Awards support the full scope of the Library and Library Foundation’s work together.
  • We are very pleased to thank BMO Harris Bank, our Presenting Sponsor for the 2021 Library Foundation Awards. BMO has been a longtime generous supporter of the Library’s work to support and strengthen Chicago’s diverse communities through lifelong learning resources.
  • Received major programmatic investments from Helen M. Harrison Foundation, Terra Foundation for American Art, Bank of America, Union Pacific Foundation, Chicago Botanic Garden, Deloitte, Illinois Humanity, as well as many other generous corporate and foundation partners.

Exciting Updates

  • 2021 Library Foundation Awards: Thank you to all CPL board members who were able to join us on November 2 for the ‘live filming’ of the awards. It was a wonderful evening with this year’s inspiring awardees: Amy Tan (Carl Sandburg Literary Award), J. Nicole Brooks (21st Century Award), and Theaster Gates (Arts Award). Then, on November 9, we hosted a free, public, online broadcast that excerpted elements of the in-person event so people the world over could join us to celebrate libraries, learn more about Chicago Public Library, and hear from our awardees. To date, we have raised more than $1.5M from a wide range of donors to support the full scope of our work with the Library. Everyone is invited to visit to watch, rewatch, and share the broadcast and learn more about what this annual event supports!
  • Impact Area Investment: The Library and Library Foundation collaboratively generated our 2022 Budget, which will be reviewed by our Board on November 18. We are very excited about the suite of in-person and online programs our donors are making possible this year, including a return to in-person homework help with Teachers in the Library, new workforce development and digital literacy resources, and much-loved favorites such as YOUmedia, Maker Lab, One Book One Chicago, and the Summer Learning Challenge.