September 20, 2022, 9:00 a.m.
- Approval of minutes for the May 17, 2022 meeting (action required)
- Schedule of Requisitions, Contracts and Licenses (info only)
- Student Success Account – Re: Teachers (action required)
- Programming Update (info only)
- CPL Capital Projects and Facilities Report (info only)
- Commissioner’s Report (info only)
- One Book, One Chicago
- Book Sanctuary
- Mental Health Clinician
- Commissioner Brown at City Club Chicago
- Obama Branch Library Update
- All Staff Institute Day (ASID)
- Budget Timeline
- Black Caucus Award for Excellence in Librarianship
- New Hires and Retirements
- Chicago Public Library Foundation Report (info only)
- Other Business
- Public Comment
Next Board meeting: November 9, 2022, 9:00 a.m. / Virtual Meeting
Open Session Minutes
Physically Present: None
Present by Means of Video or Audio Conference: Linda Johnson Rice, Christopher Valenti, Lynn Lockwood, Jodi Block, Barbara Bowman, Ivy Walker, Sandra Delgado
Absent: Dominique Jordan Turner, Michelle Boone
Approval of minutes for the May 17, 2022 meeting (action required)
The Board voted (7-0) to approve the minutes from the May 17, 2022 meeting.
Schedule of Requisitions, Contracts and Licenses (info only)
Teri Campbell, 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 (May 30, 2022 - August 31, 2022), 3,807 invoices totaling $2,510,736 were paid to various vendors. Costs are in line with normal spending.
Student Success Account - Re: Teachers (action required)
As part of the Student Success Account (SSA) project, CPL would like to provide CPS teachers with an eCard, allowing each teacher to have access to CPL's student resources in the classroom. This card will differ from a traditional account and will be limited to our digital collection. CPL is proposing a Teacher eCard type to help measure the use and impact of this program.
The Board voted (7-0) to add a Teacher eCard type as part of the Student Success Account initiative.
Programming Update (info only)
First Deputy Commissioner Messner provided an overview of CPL programming systemwide, highlighting the following:
Summer at CPL
CPL’s city-wide summer program entitled City of Stories, took place June 27 – August 14, 2022 in partnership with Jane Addams Hull-House Museum and Art Institution of Chicago, which included public programming, free family passes to the museum, field trips from branches, staff training, content development and more. A total of 34,340 children participated in the program (a 4.3% increase from 2021) and read 19,761,618. CPL also hosted over 2000 branch and outreach events, reaching almost 40,000 patrons.
CPL’s Teen Services department looked towards in-person engagement after two summers that saw mostly virtual programming and internships. Activities focused on empowering teens to share their stories, connect with others, and to explore the city around them. The program engaged over 700 teens across the city, and 5,447 activities were reported by teens in 2022, a 46% increase from the previous year.
The Adult Services department also shared in this year’s summer reading initiative providing programming for adults. Approximately 370 events were held with over 3,000 adult patrons participating. Programs included Chicago history lectures, writing workshops, artmaking classes, genealogy workshops, grab and go bookmaking kits from the Art Institute of Chicago, and more. The keynote event for Adults was the mainstage appearance of Chicago author Toya Wolfe speaking about her new book, Last Summer on State Street. Toya was interviewed by Dawn Turner, Chicago journalist and author of Three Girls From Bronzeville.
Chicago Public Library continued our longstanding partnership with Printers Row Lit Fest, hosting two events this year. The first featured former One Book, One Chicago Authors Eric Charles May author of Bedrock Faith and Thomas Dyja, author of The Third Coast in conversation with professor Judy Rivera-van Schagen of Harold Washington College. The event was a celebration of the power and influence of the OBOC program through the years, as seen from the perspective of the authors, as well as one of our university partners who teaches the book to her classes.
The second event was part of CPL's Voices For Justice series and featured a staged reading of Chicago journalist Natalie Moore's new play, "The Billboard", followed by Natalie in conversation with theatre critic Kathy Hey of Third Coast Review. The event was a display of the influence of art to address one of our most compelling and timely topics today, women's reproductive freedom. In addition, CPL staff hosted a tent on site at the festival and distributed CPL swag including bookmarks, freebies and tote bags to thousands of festivalgoers over two days.
Back to School
CPL’s Teacher in the Library (TIL) program resumed service on September 6th at 34 physical locations and virtually. In addition, we are developing reference refreshers for branch staff that are aligned with CPS curriculum needs to help them support student learning. We are also developing a series of trainings and materials for librarians to use with new and emerging readers to support their critical literacy development.
Culture in my Neighborhood
As part of the Arts77 recovery and reopening plan, Culture in My Neighborhood (CIMN) is a unique partnership between the Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Library, and Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) to advance Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot’s vision for equitable access to the arts in all of Chicago’s 77 community areas.
CPL will launch our first event at Whitney Young library with a West African Rhythms concert performed by Old Town School of Music. There will be 10 other concerts. Select library locations will also host CircEsteem, this organization will offer a social circus that teaches self-esteem through exploring the circus arts at 10 branches throughout the city. Other events include Taiko Legacy performing traditional drumming techniques from Korea and Sushi 101 demonstrations, to name a few.
Community Connection Fund
Almost 50 library locations have been approved for a Community Connection Fund grant and develop a new and innovative programs at their branch. The grant offered branches up to $1000 to create an innovative program or host an event that will promote more community engagement.
Akito Tsuda Exhibit
As part of a Terra Foundation grant-funded project, CPL hosted a special viewing of photographs with Japanese photographer, Akito Tsuda and a series of convenings to celebrate his “Pilsen Days” photography collection, Aug 24 – Sept 7. The Special Collections unit acquired a selection of original prints from Tsuda's Pilsen collection in 2021 with assistance from the Chicago Public Library Foundation. The events will help inform Tsuda’s 2024 exhibit, “An Immigrant Among Immigrants,” at CPL.
CPL Capital Projects and Facilities Report (info only)
Deputy Commissioner Clemons provided a brief update on facility projects.
With support from the Assets, Information and Services department (AIS), CPL recently completed CARE projects at the Lincoln Belmont, Near North and Uptown locations; Hegewisch is currently undergoing the CARE process. AIS manages building operations, building management and maintenance at CPL locations and other City buildings.
In October, CPL and AIS will begin ADA improvements at 40 library locations across the city, concentrating on paving and concrete work.
Planning for 2023 is underway and will consist of upcoming CARE projects, and the AIS capital improvement plan which will address deferred maintenance at select locations systemwide such as roofing, HVAC etc. Locations will receive attention based on urgency, scope, priority, geographic equity and funding by location.
Commissioner’s Report (info only)
Commissioner Brown’s report highlighted the following:
- CPL selected the Pulitzer prize-winning graphic novel Maus by Art Spiegelman for the 2022 One Book, One Chicago selection. This year’s theme is Freedom to Read.
- CPL has partnered with global public relations firm Edelman and DCASE on a campaign to reframe public libraries as book sanctuaries. The campaign launch will coincide with Banned Books Week (September 18-24).
- The success of CPL’s social worker in the library pilot last year motivated the Library to partner with CDPH to launch a Mental Health Clinician at CPL.
- Commissioner Brown will represent CPL at City Club of Chicago on September 29th and share upcoming initiatives, provide an update on the Library’s innovative programs and introduce ideas for the Library’s 150th anniversary next year.
- On September 7th, CPL and OPC connected with community stakeholders to review planning and get feedback to ensure the OPC branch will meet the needs of the community.
- On October 27th all library locations will be closed as staff participate in All Staff Institute Day (ASID).
- CPL is preparing for the City’s budget hearing, tentatively scheduled for late October.
- Congratulations to Tamela Chambers, manager of the Beverly branch, who received the Award for Excellence in Librarianship from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.
- CPL welcomed several new staff to our Senior Team: Shamil Clay joined CPL as our new Marketing Director; Desiree Abu-Odeh is CPL’s first Senior Equity Officer; Esmeralda Cossyleon was recently promoted from Chicago Lawn branch manager to CPL District Chief; and Shannon Bourne is CPL’s new Director of Corporate and Private Events.
- Commissioner Brown also recognized CPL staff that have retired between May - September and thanked them for their service to CPL and the City: Cathryn Bearov, Librarian IV at HWLC; Ming Chen, Library Associate at Toman; Beverly Cook, Librarian III at Woodson Regional; Linda Cross, Help Desk Supervisor at HWLC; Richard Dohnalek, Librarian IV at Lincoln Belmont; Patricia Lewis, Head Clerk at Brighton Park; Alfredo Longoria, Motor Truck Driver at HWLC; Ellen McLoughlin, Project Coordinator at HWLC; Carleen Merges, Librarian I at Dunning; Eric Miller, Manager of Data Entry at HWLC; Queen Morgan - Senior Clerk at HWLC; Kathleen Spight, Library Page at Rogers Park; Kathleen Villette, Librarian III at Walker
Chicago Public Library Foundation Report (info only)
Brenda Langstraat, President & CEO of the Chicago Public Library Foundation updated the Board on contributions and initiatives being managed by the Foundation, including:
- Over 1,000 new donors have made contributions to the Chicago Public Library Foundation this year in support of CPL;
- On October 12th, Chicago Public Library Foundation will host the Library Foundation Awards. This year’s honorees include Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright Tony Kushner, Top Chef Rick Bayless, and TikTok sensation Shermann “Dilla” Thomas. A free public broadcast will be available worldwide on October 19th;
- The Associate Board is bringing back the Night in the Stacks event, April 14, 2023;
- Cybernavigators have returned to 14 high-priority branches with plans to expand to other branches across the city in the coming months;
- The Teacher in the Library program relaunched in the fall at 30 library locations and online; and
- The Maker in Residence program continues this fall with artist Esther Ajayi as the Maker in Residence.
The board received comments from patrons in support of a new stand-alone library for the Back of the Yards community.
One Book, One Chicago
We are pleased to share that the 2022 One Book, One Chicago theme is Freedom to Read. We chose this theme because the unprecedented rise in book banning across the country is in direct opposition to what CPL and the diverse City of Chicago stand for. The American Library Association has reported more than 729 attempted bans of 1,597 individual books in 2021 alone, primarily targeting BIPOC and LGBTQ+ authors. In response, CPL has selected the Pulitzer prize-winning graphic novel Maus by Art Spiegelman, one of the most frequently challenged books, to explore our freedom to read as a City. This book will bring Chicago together through programs for all ages, culminating in an in-person event with author Art Spiegelman on November 3rd.
To acknowledge our country’s rise in book challenges, and to call out our role in protecting access to diverse voices, CPL is partnering with award-winning global public relations firm Edelman and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events on a campaign to reframe public libraries as book sanctuaries. The launch of this campaign will coincide with Banned Books Week (September 18-24). The campaign will promote CPL’s libraries as book sanctuaries, provide increased access to banned books, highlight a challenged book each month to increase the visibility of diverse narratives, and will also include monthly book clubs at regional libraries. This innovative initiative will culminate with the installation of a “Book Sanctuary” art-installation at our Harold Washington Library Center by internationally renowned Chicago artist Theaster Gates whose work has previously touched on the importance of archives and diverse voices.
Mental Health Clinician
Last year CPL and AMITA Health wrapped up a social worker in the library pilot, serving those in the areas surrounding Uptown and West Garfield Park with mental health, job, food, and substance abuse-related needs. The pilot proved that CPL could serve hundreds of visitors in our neighborhood spaces. This year CPL has been working with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) to develop solutions within the infrastructure of City government, and will be launching a Mental Health Clinician at CPL. The clinician will be based at CPL and bring expertise in community engagement, system coordination, and experience working with co-occurrences of mental health, substance use and homelessness. A significant portion of their responsibilities will involve stakeholder engagement and agency coordination, as well as direct clinical support training for CPL staff.
On September 29th, I will be presenting at City Club on behalf of CPL, sharing how we’re leading in Chicago from the library. As we gear up to celebrate our 150th anniversary, this will be an opportunity to tell our story, our history of civic engagement, Chicago leadership, how we connect communities through innovative programming like Live from the Library, and through policies like going Fine Free. This will also be an opportunity to share how CPL is reimagining what libraries can be with innovative spaces like our new Altgeld Library, the fourth Chicago Housing Authority co-location, which includes an on-site childcare facility. We hope you will join us in celebrating CPL.
CPL has been developing plans for the Obama branch with Margaret Sullivan Studio (MSS) design firm and have been anticipating a community engagement process in partnership with the Obama Presidential Center (OPC). On September 7th CPL and OPC met with community stakeholders to review our planning to date, which has included workshops with CPL and OPC staff and field trips to museum learning centers. The purpose of the community engagement was to validate this work and collect feedback to ensure the branch library will both meet the needs of OPC visitors and the neighborhood. CPL is now working with MSS to incorporate the feedback of the Jackson Park community.
All Staff Institute Day (ASID)
CPL is bringing back our All-Staff Institute Day (ASID). ASID is CPL’s day to commit to the professional development of our 1,000-plus staff. This year staff will be reporting to their location and tuning in virtually to minimize the size of gatherings, as a COVID-19 precaution.
Staff inform the content and learning sessions at ASID, which will include teambuilding activities, Strategic Plan exercises, live sessions focused on self-care and emotional intelligence, and trainings from CPL partners like NAMI and Lurie, teaching on staff wellness and gender equity respectively.
ASID will take place on Thursday, October 27th, during which time all CPL locations will be closed to the public. CPL closes to the public for each ASID to make sure all CPL can participate. This year will be ASID’s 26th year.
CPL is preparing for our City budget hearings in October and will share the scheduled date and time once confirmed. CPL has submitted to the Office of Budget and Management a level non-personnel budget. CPL’s IT department, which was moved to the department of Assets, Information and Services ten years ago, is being returned to CPL. This will not have a budget impact, as CPL was already covering the cost of these personnel. Having IT back within CPL will help streamline services.
Black Caucus Award for Excellence in Librarianship
We want to congratulate and share that CPL’s own Tamela Chambers, the manager for the Beverly Branch, has received the Award for Excellence in Librarianship from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. Tamela was recently elected to the BCALA Executive Board and has served as chair of the BCALA Public Libraries Committee, as well as a book reviewer for School Library Journal.
Tamela has over 20 years of experience working in school and public libraries, and in addition to an MLIS holds a Master of Education degree in Early Childhood Curriculum and Instruction.
CPL has hired Shamil Clay as our new Marketing Director where she will be responsible for leading all marketing, communication, and public relations work for CPL. Shamil has broad marketing experience and a deep commitment to improving education and community engagement across the City and beyond. She spent the past decade overseeing marketing, brand management and digital media at DePaul University, National Louis University and City Colleges of Chicago. She has led successful digital media, marketing, events and recruitment initiatives that resulted in significant increases in website traffic, enrollment and alumni engagement. Shamil brings tremendous creativity, expertise and enthusiasm to this important role.
Senior Equity Officer
Desiree Abu-Odeh has been hired as the first Senior Equity Officer at CPL. Desiree has a research and educator background with a focus on social and health equity. She earned her BS in neuroscience and an MA in bioethics from the University of Minnesota. Her MPH and PhD in sociomedical sciences is from Columbia University (New York, NY). She has spent more than a decade teaching and researching on the history of gender and racial equity in higher education.
Desiree has also worked for a city health department, a middle-school gender and sexuality education program, and a pharmaceutical company. In each role she helped plan, manage and evaluate programs that worked to promote equity and inclusion. Her priority at CPL will be to lead a team to conduct an equity assessment of the department and provide recommendations to our leadership.
Esmeralda Cossyleon has been promoted from Chicago Lawn branch manager to CPL District Chief. Esmeralda started at CPL over twenty-five years ago, gaining experience as a library page, then working in numerous capacities, including as a clerk, associate, librarian and most recently as a branch manager. She is well-regarded for her outreach, teambuilding and commitment to customer service and has also served as co-chair for the CPL Latinx Committee. Esmeralda earned a BA in psychology and Spanish and has her MLIS from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Director of Library Programs and Events
Shannon Bourne has joined CPL as the new Director of Corporate and Private Events. Shannon’s background is in production and education with a focus on creating community through creative programming, including festivals, exhibitions, fundraisers, concerts, panel conversations and both virtual and in-person events. She most recently served as Director of Student Activities at Columbia College Chicago where she continues to serve as adjunct faculty in the Business & Entrepreneurship Department. Shannon has a BA in painting and an MA in Arts Management.
- Cathryn Bearov, Librarian IV at HWLC, 31 years of service
- Ming Chen, Library Associate at Toman, 33 years of service
- Beverly Cook, Librarian III at Woodson Regional, 35 years of service
- Linda Cross, Help Desk Supervisor at HWLC, 23 years of service
- Richard Dohnalek, Librarian IV at Lincoln Belmont, 25 years of service
- Patricia Lewis, Head Clerk at Brighton Park, 33 years of service
- Alfredo Longoria, Motor Truck Driver at HWLC, 23 years of service
- Ellen McLoughlin, Project Coordinator at HWLC, 18 years of service
- Carleen Merges, Librarian I at Dunning, 31 years of service
- Eric Miller, Manager of Data Entry at HWLC, 28 years of service
- Queen Morgan, Senior Clerk at HWLC, 41 years of service
- Kathleen Spight, Library Page at Rogers Park, 8 years of service
- Kathleen Villette, Librarian III at Walker, 23 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:
To date in 2022, we were proud to welcome more than 1,000 new donors from across Chicago and beyond to the Library Foundation community—a community that, at all levels of giving, funds lifelong learning opportunities for all at Chicago Public Library.
- Please join us for this year’s Library Foundation Awards, which will raise important support for the Library and celebrate Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright Tony Kushner, Top Chef Rick Bayless, and TikTok sensation Shermann “Dilla” Thomas. The event will follow our new model of an in-person awards ceremony and dinner with sponsors on October 12, followed by a free public broadcast available worldwide on October 19. More information about how to participate in this year’s event can be found at https://cplfoundation.org/awards. In 2021, more than 8,500 Library lovers worldwide participated in the Library Foundation Awards experience, raising important awareness of the Library’s impact. We are thrilled that our new model is giving so many people access to the inspiring Library stories and our honorees’ incredible achievements!
- The Chicago Public Library Foundation Associate Board is bringing back the much-loved Night in the Stacks event this spring. Please save the date for Friday, April 14, 2023 and look for more exciting updates to come.
- CyberNavigators are back! CyberNavigators offer adult and older adult Chicagoans one-to-one technology tutoring sessions and support skill-building in areas such as computer basics, email, internet search, and online forms. The wide variety of topics covered by CyberNavigators makes them an essential part of the solution to the ongoing challenges of Chicago’s digital divide. (People can also find help navigating our online world at https://chipublib.digitallearn.org–which can be accessed at any time, by anyone.) CyberNavigators are currently available to assist Chicagoans in 14 high-priority branches, with plans to increase support at additional branches in the coming months.
- Free homework help with Teachers in the Library has relaunched for the fall semester in 30 branches and online! Families can find more information about this donor-funded resource at www.chipublib.org/news/free-homework-help. We are currently working with our staffing partner to hire more Teachers—all of whom are accredited educators—to work with students in high-priority branches and virtually as well.
- The Library’s Maker in Residence program continues this fall with artist Esther Ajayi, who will share her experiences in working with color, drawing (traditionally and digitally), and crocheting with patrons. New this year, donor support for this program has allowed Maker Lab to offer workshops with the Maker in Residence to Chicagoans not only at Harold Washington Library Center but at four additional branches as well. Find more about our Makers at www.chipublib.org/news/2022-makers-in-residence.