Board of Directors Meeting Minutes – September 21, 2021


September 21, 2021, 9:00 a.m.

Virtual Meeting

  1. Approval of minutes for the May 18, 2021 meeting (action required)
  2. Schedule of Requisitions, Contracts and Licenses (info only)
  3. CPL Capital Projects and Facilities Report (info only)
  4. Programming Update (info only)
  5. Commissioner’s Report (info only)
    • Strategy Guidebook
    • Sunday Hour Progress
    • City Initiatives
    • LinkedIn Learning
    • Maker-in-Residence
    • Obama Branch Update
    • John Cotton Dana Award
    • Spectrum Scholarship
    • Budget Timeline
    • Departures, New Hires and Retirements
  6. Chicago Public Library Foundation Report (info only)
  7. Other Business
  8. Public Comment

Next Board meeting:

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

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, Dominique Jordan Turner, Ivy Walker, Michelle Boone, Sandra Delgado

Absent: None

President Rice opened the meeting and acknowledged Patricia Gaytan Perez and Alexi Giannoulias for their service and support to the City as their terms serving on the CPL Board have ended. Rice welcomed CPL’s newest Board members Sandra Delgado and Michelle Boone whose appointments were approved by City Council earlier this month.

Ms. Delgado is a Colombian-American writer, actor and producer with deep ties to the Chicago theater community. She writes plays for and about Chicagoans with a focus on Latine stories. She is best known for her play "La Havana Madrid." Her 2020 play "The Boys and the Nuns" centers on the fight for LGBTQ rights in 1980s Chicago. Delgado is a respected veteran of the stage, including work at Steppenwolf, the Goodman and Victory Gardens. She is a founding member of Collaboraction, a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists and recently served on the Mayor’s Cultural Advisory Council. She’s been awarded a 2021 U.S. Artist Fellowship and is one of twenty Chicago women honored in Kerry James Marshall's public mural Rushmore on the facade of the Chicago Cultural Center.

Ms. Boone is President of The Poetry Foundation. Appointed in May 2021, she is the first woman and first African American to lead the organization. Boone was previously the Chief Program and Civic Engagement Officer at Navy Pier and was a member of the executive leadership team helping to shape organizational strategy and public engagement. Boone formerly held the role of Commissioner at The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and senior program officer at the Joyce Foundation. Boone was previously named a “Cultural Champion” by the Chicago Cultural Alliance. She currently serves on several boards including the board of Americans for the Arts and Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Additionally, Commissioner Brown noted that live captioning and ASL interpretation services were being provided for this meeting in response to feedback received at previous Board meetings.

Approval of minutes for the May 18, 2021 Board of Directors meeting (action required)

The Board voted (9-0) to approve the minutes for the May 18, 2021 Board of Directors meeting.

Schedule of Requisitions, Contracts and Licenses (info only)

Mary Emmanuel, CPL’s Director of 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 1, 2021 – August 15, 2021), 3200 invoices totaling $1,809,479.22 were paid to various vendors.

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 - The Richard J Daley branch, located in Bridgeport is currently being renovated. 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. The will be a great refresh to this 1960’s building.

Now Open – We are excited to announce that the Manning branch is now open after an interior renovation, led by AIS. Renovation included the addition of a new teen space and refreshed collection. The branch also has a new branch manager and is eager to welcome the community back to the Manning branch.

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. Brainerd, Jeffrey Manor and Greater Grand Crossing have recently completed the CARE process. Brighton Park and West Lawn are next on the list.

Programming Update (info only)

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

Summer Learning Challenge  

CPL offered 1,742 events, both online and in-person, with a total of 23,696 participants as part of the SLC; more than double the number of events and participants who attended last summer. CPL also distributed 30,750 free passes and hosted 12 field trips to the Art Institute of Chicago. Additionally, branches distributed more than 27,000 grab-and-go kits, which are programs in a bag that families could take with them to use at their convenience.

We are still measuring the full impact of this summer’s program, but a few highlights from Start with Art include: 8,550 walk-in and online participants (an increase of about 2,000 kids over last summer) who read for a total of 2,428,841 minutes (an increase of 1.2 million minutes over last summer). We are still awaiting reports from branches to determine the full number of outreach groups and classrooms who participated this summer.

Safe Summer

The Library has partnered with other City agencies this summer to implement a new strategy that will address community safety and allocate resources to specific areas of high need. To support this initiative, the CPL’s STEAM Team participated in 11 On the Block events, distributing grab-and-go kits and worked with staff from local branches to distribute information about upcoming library programs and events in their neighborhoods.

Library Card Campaign

The Library Card Initiative began the week of September 7th. This year, CPL will focus on students in pre-k, kindergarten and 9th grade. The goal is to reach students entering school for the first time to influence library use as a part of their ongoing school habits. The Library Card Initiative will run from September 7 - November 1, 2021.

Teacher in the Library/Brainfuse

The Teacher in the Library program resumed in-person at 48 physical locations and virtually. Returning teachers are expected to start in September, with new hires beginning shortly after. TIL sessions will also be held on Sundays.

CPL continues to offer online tutoring sessions through Brainfuse as an option for homework help, more intensive subject assistance, and test preparation for youth and adult learners.

Back to School

As part of our Back to School campaign, we’ve updated our Fall Learning Journey page with resources for kids and families to use as school resumes. We’ve also created and shared grab-and-go kits with activities designed to increase social and emotional learning skills, as well as tips for parents and caregivers to support their own emotional health as their children re-enter school.

Teen Summer Challenge

The Teen Summer Challenge Make Space. Take Action empowered youth through opportunities with art, their environment and social justice over the summer. Program partners included: Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Territory, John Walt Foundation, and Lincoln Park Zoo. The program registered 694 teens across the city in branches and virtually. A total of 4860 grab and go kits centered around the themes of making and experiencing art were distributed. Over 461 programs were held reaching 5250 attendees.

A program highlight to mention was the Storytelling Through Art and Design series with teaching artist Oluwaseyi Adeleke, a current Master of Design student at UIC. The 8 week workshop boasted 11 programs with 1,393 attendees – On average, 15 teens attended each of the weekly workshops.

Chicago Architecture Biennial

Through support from the Danish Arts in Chicago, CPL will offer several programs for teens as part of the 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial The Available City. Librarians and teens in North Lawndale and Little Village will host programs in the Library Garden they designed at Douglass Branch.

Also, in partnership with School of the Art Institute, by DESIGNopedia and AIA Chicago, YOUmedia at Harold Washington Library Center will give teens the opportunity to design a park and learn about the Chicago River environment.

Teen Gamer’s Guild

CPL will recruit 12 teens to meet on a weekly basis from October to June to participate in the Teen Gamer’s Guild. Participants will work librarians to plan a gaming convention to be held in June 2022 at CPL. The project will focus on a variety of gaming formats including board games, role-playing games and video-gaming with a focus on creating inclusive environments for all teens to join.

YOUmedia Alumni Advisory Council

With support from the Chicago Public Library Foundation, CPL will form a YOUmedia Alumni Advisory Council with 6 to 8 former YOUmedia participants to learn from their experience as YOUmedia members. First Lady Amy Eshleman will serve as chair of the council, the first meeting is scheduled for November 2021. Participants will serve for a minimum of 1 year to provide feedback to CPL’s Teen Service department, and to find support for their current projects and pathways.

Mad Skillz

Teen Services will be providing 6 unique back-to-school Mad Skillz Grab and Go Kits for each CPL location. These kits were carefully selected and designed in collaboration with fellow CPL colleagues to engage our teens. Mad Skillz kits provide ready-made, interest-based activities for CPL staff to use in a variety of program offerings, both in-library and by “make and take.” Two of the kits, created by Nierika String Art and Hojalata Kit, will be used to celebrate Latinx History Month.

Summer Safety / Summer Kickback Series

CPL staff were onsite at the Summer Kickback Series (SKS) “mothership” events to promote summer programs and library services. Staff provided giveaways to the first 10 youth who signed up for the summer program and engaged youth and families with button making activities.

CPL Teen Services’ partner Shine On Chicago! attended four “mothership” events to provide photo-based activities with Shine On’s mobile photo studio. Led by instructor/facilitator Jim Kropp, teens who were part of CPL’s YOUmedia Photo Safari program provided fun activities with photography to promote YOUmedia at the Summer Kickback events.

One Book, One Chicago

On September 2nd, CPL announced the latest One Book, One Chicago selection: Bedrock Faith by Chicago’s own Eric Charles May! This is the 32nd OBOC and 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of this celebrated initiative. This season’s OBOC theme is Neighborhoods: Our City’s Bedrock, this theme will be creatively woven throughout the run of programs through early-December. The OBOC initiative is made possible with support from sponsors through the Chicago Public Library Foundation. 

Latinx History Month

Chicago Public Library in celebrating Latinx History Month from September 15 to October 15. Our theme this year is "Pa'lante Con Nuestro Poder/Moving Forward with Power." The Latinx communities across Chicago and the nation were among the hardest hit during the pandemic and thus our committee focused on providing creative programming that honors these communities, shares joy and nurtures a healing spirit.

Commissioner’s Report (info only)

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

  • CPL has created a Strategy Guidebook to bring our five-year strategy to life. We are working to distribute the guidebook to all staff by the September.
  • CPL resumed Sunday hours at select library locations in April. Currently 45 locations have recommenced Sunday hours with the plan to add 10 branches per month.
  • The Library has join forces with other City departments to participate in the Our City, Our Safety violence reduction initiative. Over the summer, the Library participated in weekly zone meetings to co-create approaches to address violence.
  • The Library is also a foundational partner in the city’s Community Safety Coordination Center to help coordinate the city’s whole-government approach to violence reduction.
  • CPL’s Teen Services department partnered with community-based organizations to participate in the weekly Summer Kickback Series, sharing information about teen programs and create safe spaces for teens to hang out.
  • Library locations across the city have been selected to support We Will Chicago, a three-year planning initiative to encourage neighborhood growth and address economic inequities. Branches will be used as centers on a weekly basis to provide steady activities to patrons.
  • CPL has partnered with CPS to assist families with pre-school registration as part of the Chicago Early Learning collaborative.
  • In partnership with CPLF, CPL has obtained a subscription to LinkedIn Learning, a workforce development tool with access to thousands of courses supporting various digital skill sets.
  • Katelyn Patton and Faith Humphrey Hill were selected as the 2021 Makers-in-Residence, providing a series of free workshops for library patrons using making, technology, drawing, 3-D printing and more.
  • The Library continues conversations with the Obama Presidential Center to learn about OPC’s offerings and design programming for the Obama Library.
  • CPL received the 2021 John Cotton Dana Award for the Live from the Library virtual story time series.
  • Cordiah Hayes was awarded the 2021-2022 ALA Spectrum Scholarship by YALSA.
  • The budget timeline was presented with budget hearings scheduled beginning the end of Sept thru October 5th, for City Council approval by October 29th. CPL’s budget hearing is tentatively scheduled for October 8th.
  • Deputy Commissioner Baronica Roberson has stepped down from her position as Commissioner over Administration and Finance to join the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelly Foundation as their Chief Executive of Finance and Administration.
  • Teri Campbell will assume the Deputy Commissioner of Administration and Finance role at CPL beginning October 4th.
  • Commissioner Brown recognized CPL’s dedicated staff that retired between May - September of this year.

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:

  • This year, the Foundation has received approximately $2.5M across all funding sources along with major programmatic investments from various corporate and foundation partners.
  • BMO Harris Bank will be the Presenting Sponsor for the 2021 Library Foundation Awards. The in-person event will be held on November 2nd at the Cultural Center; and on November 9th, the Foundation will host a free, public online broadcast of the event that will be accessible to everyone.
  • Through continued support from our donors, we are pleased to announce that the Teacher in the Library homework help program will be returning to an in-person format and virtually this fall.
  • The CPLF Associate Board will host a virtual Trivia Night event on October 14th at 6PM. Inspired by the 2021 Fall OBOC selection Bed Rock Faith by Eric Charles May, this year’s theme is “All Things Chicago”.

Public Comment

The board received comments from the public thanking the Commissioner for participating in the book club session that was held in the Assistive Resource Center at HWLC; appreciation for bringing back the Talking Book Center and providing access to the Assistive Resource Center during the pandemic; and once again providing library hours on Sundays. There was also a request for the library to consider offering tutoring services for college students.

Next Board Meeting

The next board meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 16, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. The meeting will be held virtually.


Commissioner’s Report

Strategy Guidebook

To support staff learning and engagement with our shared priorities, CPL has brought our five-year strategy to life through the creation of a Strategy Guidebook. The guidebook is an organizational development tool to help our staff ground the strategy in their day-to-day goal setting and decision making. Ten activities, focused on a range of strategic insights like “knowing your community” to “lifelong learning at work”, will help staff throughout the system position CPL’s vision and strategy at the center of our shared work. The launch date for this resource is the end of September.

Sunday Hour Progress

In April 2021, CPL resumed adding Sunday hours with the goal of having all 81 locations open seven days a week by the end of this calendar year.

Since May 2021, the following locations have opened for Sunday hours: Albany Park, West Belmont, Mayfair, Jefferson Park, Budlong Woods, Lincoln Belmont, Brighton Park, Avalon, Vodak-East Side, South Chicago, Austin-Irving, Bucktown-Wicker Park, Oriole Park, Rogers Park, Uptown, West Town, Canaryville, Walker, Bessie Coleman, Greater Grand Crossing, and Hegewisch.

Eleven locations opened Sunday, September 12th and represent a significant point of progress in our initiative, bringing CPL to a total of 45 locations—55% toward completion of our goal. CPL plans to continue adding a minimum of 10 branches per month to reach our target and timeline. Locations for each launch date are chosen based on current staffing capacity and positions slated to be filled. To support the increased hours at neighborhood branches, CPL has filled 91 vacancies to date this year, and will continue hiring throughout 2021.   

City Initiatives

Our City, Our Safety  

As part of Our City, Our Safety, Legler Regional has anchored the Neighborhood Activation pilot project to significantly reduce violence in West Garfield Park by engaging with the community in the development and implementation of micro-level projects and changes to the built environment. Legler has enhanced physical, programmatic, and direct services by expanding Wi-Fi access outside the building, piloting activation of the front lawn with furniture, adding banners to the building, hosting a free monthly produce market in partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository, leveraging the social worker in the library service with AMITA Health and kicking off CPL’s first Artist-in-Residence program with DCASE. As part of the next phase of the pilot, CPL is collaborating with CDOT, DCASE and Melody School to connect the library and school campus for added safety.

Our City, Our Safety is Chicago’s comprehensive plan for the city’s violence reduction work through 2023, with the goal of sustainably reducing violence and making Chicago a city where everyone is and feels safe. CPL supports the City’s whole-government approach to safety, specifically within the 15 priority communities where CPL has a total of 24 locations. CPL has supported Our City, Our Safety throughout the summer by participating in weekly zone meetings that engage community partners to co-create approaches to address violence. Through these meetings and engagements, CPL collaborated with Chicago Park District to activate the parking lot of Whitney Young Library with Friday afternoon Rolling Rec and library grab and go kits, creating more positive visibility. This evolved into afterhours events at Whitney Young, providing youth and their families with safe opportunities to learn and enjoy time with neighbors and friends.

Community Safety Coordination Center 

CPL is a foundational partner in the newly established Community Safety Coordination Center (CSCC) to ensure that violence prevention and reduction efforts are community-led and supported with city staff and resources. To date, efforts have focused on a coordinated back to school effort to increase attendance and the development of a long-term city safety strategy.  A CPL representative is now working at the CSCC to help coordinate the city’s whole-government approach to violence reduction.

Safe Summer/ SKB 

Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out (HOMAGO) is a successful framework that has engaged thousands of teens in Chicago through YOUmedia spaces at the Chicago Public Library for many years. In response to the isolation, disconnection and resulting effects of crime and violence in Chicago in the past 18 months, the City utilized the HOMAGO framework to guide the creation and utilization of safe spaces for teens in 15 of the hardest hit neighborhoods. This work included partnering with community-based organizations located in these neighborhoods to employ local teens to help inform and implement the Summer Kickback Series, creating outdoor lounge and event spaces on a weekly basis. CPL participated in the weekly series sharing information about our teen programs, including YOUmedia, and hosting the SHINE On Chicago photography mobile vehicle.

We Will Chicago  

We Will Chicago is a three-year citywide planning initiative that will encourage neighborhood growth and vibrancy while addressing social and economic inequities. DCASE is leading the community engagement effort by partnering with Honeypot Performance who will employ artists in this outreach initiative. Each artist team will focus on one of the 7 pillars of the We Will Chicago plan.  

The artist teams will target specific communities and will use libraries as a central hub for 4-8 hours a week to provide steady activity from the end of July through the end of September. The following locations are providing space for this initiative:  South Shore, Thurgood Marshall, Brainerd, Douglass, Chicago Bee, Austin, West Chicago, Uptown, and Pullman.  

Pre-K Registration

Chicago Early Learning is a citywide, collaborative effort to more readily bring high quality early learning programs to families in need throughout the city. CPL helps Chicago Public Schools reduce barriers for families enrolling in preschool by supporting family resource centers at several library locations across the City. Families who visit a family resource center receive assistance with applying and registering for CPS and community-based preschools for their 3- and 4-year-old children. Registration is open May-September at Legler, Sulzer and Woodson Regional libraries, Little Village, West Lawn, and Avalon.

LinkedIn Learning

CPL has purchased a subscription to LinkedIn Learning in partnership with the Chicago Public Library Foundation. LinkedIn Learning is a workforce development tool with access to over 16,000 courses in 7 languages including English, Spanish and Mandarin. Popular subjects include job searching, Excel, coding, image and video editing. This resource is relevant for a range of digital skill sets, from basic to advanced. At CPL we look forward to promoting this valuable workforce development tool.


In partnership with the Chicago Public Library Foundation, CPL is hosting two online Makers-in-Residence in 2021. They will use making, technology or design to interpret local culture and experiences and offer online workshops for library patrons. This summer, artist Katelyn Patton hosted a series of free workshops based around art through the lens of urban ecology. This fall, artist Faith Humphrey Hill will host public workshops focused on the community impact of COVID-19. Her work combines knitting, drawing and 3-D printing to create multimedia art.

Obama Branch Update

Over the summer the Obama Presidential Center (OPC) team provided CPL leadership with a virtual walk-through of the campus to better understand the site's activities and amenities. These include a presidential garden located above the branch, an auditorium, and a sound studio. This coordination is helping the CPL team better understand how the Obama Branch will complement the broader visitor experience and the OPC ecosystem of offerings. The next step is to coordinate with OPC staff on the design of library programming, which will in turn inform the branch design and operations.

John Cotton Dana Award

Chicago Public Library was a recipient of the 2021 John Cotton Dana Award; the award is managed by the American Library Association’s Core Division and consists of $10,000 grants from the H.W. Wilson Foundation. The award recognized CPL for innovation in communications and engagement with the Live from the Library series in 2020.

Chicago Public Library launched its “Live from the Library” series as a virtual story time in order to help combat the effects of closing libraries and schools due to COVID-19 in the spring of 2020. These daily stories, read by notable Chicagoans and Chicago Public librarians, gave kids a chance to learn and engage almost as if they were in the library. The program quickly grew and by the end of that year, 250 stories were read by notable readers such as President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Kristen Bell, and Matthew Broderick, among many others. The goal of the program was to engage people online at a time when in-person library visits were limited, and by all measures, the program was a phenomenal success. The stories were viewed by library patrons over one million times, attracted 360 earned media placements and sparked a 25 percent increase in engagement on the library’s social media channels. At the time of submission, the stories had been viewed more than 800,000,000 times by people in more than 35 countries.

Spectrum Scholarship

Cordiah Hayes, from the Woodson Regional Library, has been awarded the 2021-2022 ALA Spectrum Scholarship by the Young Adult Library Services Association’s, YALSA. A committee of 28 juror’s selected this year’s Spectrum Scholars based on their “commitment to community building, leadership potential and planned contributions to making social justice part of everybody’s everyday work in LIS.”

YALSA annually funds two Spectrum Scholars pursuing a career in young adult librarianship or secondary school librarianship. Congratulations, Cordiah!

Budget Timeline

The budget timeline is as follows:

  • July 16th - Local Budget Request and Grant Budget Request                
  • July 26th thru 30th - Department Budget Hearings with OBM                            
  • September 3rd - Final Department Budgets in CBS                                
  • September 15th - Mayor's Budget Address to City Council                              
  • Sept 20th thru Oct 5th - Department Budget Hearings with City Council                       
  • October 29th - Budget Submitted for Council Approval

Departures, New Hires and Retirements

Departure: Baronica Roberson, Deputy Commissioner of Administration and Finance 

I am excited to announce that our extremely talented Deputy Commissioner, Baronica Roberson stepped down from her position for an opportunity at the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, as their new Chief Executive of finance and administration.

Baronica has been an invaluable and respected member of our team, and I can’t say enough about how amazing she has been to work with as I transitioned into my new role at CPL. It is always a shame to lose a deeply talented team member, but it also speaks highly of Chicago Public Library when our people are sought after for new and exciting opportunities. I think I speak for all of us in saying that she will be greatly missed!

New Hire: Teri Campbell, Deputy Commissioner of Administration and Finance

I also invite you to join me in welcoming Teri Campbell as she assumes the role of Deputy Commissioner over Finance and Administration, starting October 4th.

You may remember Teri from her previous role as CPL’s Director Finance from 2015 through 2017. For the past four years, Teri has served the Assistant Director of Evanston Public Library, leading administrative functions including human resources, budgeting, finance management, training, and development. Importantly, given our focus equity, she also served as the liaison to the internal Equity Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) committee and the external Racial Equity Task Force.

Teri joined the City of Chicago in 1999 as part of the Department of Planning and Development. She was brought on to administer the $100M Chicago Empowerment Zone federal grant.  Teri then worked in the Office of Budget & Management (OBM) as a senior budget analyst for several city departments. She also worked in Grants Management at OBM where she helped manage the City’s $1.5B grant portfolio. 

Teri is a highly respected public servant and champion for equity in government. Her more than 20 years of experience has given her a clear understanding of the importance of providing high quality services to fellow residents and stakeholders alike. Having Teri return to CPL is a testament to her commitment to Chicago and CPL. I look forward to having such a warm and seasoned leader join our team. Please join me in welcoming Teri back to CPL! 


    • Shannon Arends - Librarian IV, Mt. Greenwood, 30 years of service
    • Si Chen - Librarian IV, Chinatown, 24 years of service
    • Peter Chung - Senior Data Entry Operator, HWLC, 36 years of service
    • Diana Debella - Head Library Clerk, West Lawn, 32 years of service
    • Elizabeth Holland - Librarian IV, HWLC, 26 years of service
    • Devera Jones - Head Library Clerk, Brainerd, 29 years of service
    • Julia Ketchum - Head Library Clerk, Jeffery Manor, 40 years of service
    • Lloyd Lowinger - Librarian II, Beverly, 36 years of service
    • Diane Mars - Head Library Clerk, Mt. Greenwood, 24 years of service
    • Tina Morton - Head Library Clerk, Gage Park, 33 years of service
    • Carol Mosley - Library Clerk, Sherman Park, 20 years of service
    • Mary O'Toole - Librarian IV, Lincoln Park, 24 years of service
    • Nancy Rawson - Librarian I, Lozano, 20 years of service
    • Michael Schorsch - Librarian III, Bucktown -Wicker Park, 27 years of service
    • Mae Williams - Senior Library Clerk, HWLC, 21 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 for our work with the Library:

  • To date this year—and as we head into our busiest fundraising quarter—donors have contributed $2.5M across all funding sources, including approx. $850,000 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 The Allstate Corporation, CME Group Foundation, Amazon, Peoples Gas, and the Norfolk Southern Corporation, as well as many other generous corporate and foundation partners.

Exciting Updates

  • 2021 Library Foundation Awards: This new experience encompasses an in-person event and ‘filming’ of the awards with sponsors as the live audience, followed by a broadcast accessible to anyone, anywhere. The in-person event will be hosted November 2 at the Cultural Center—our city’s original main Library center—and feature 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 will host a free, public, online broadcast that creatively excerpts elements of the in-person event. This ensures people the city and world over can join us to celebrate libraries, learn more about Chicago Public Library, and hear from our awardees! Visit for more information.
  • Impact Area Investment: Library Foundation donors at all levels invest in three “above and beyond” priority areas—Closing the Academic Opportunity Gap, Bridging the Digital Divide, and Activating Creativity & Connection For All. It is this support that makes programs like YOUmedia, Maker Lab, One Book One Chicago, and the Summer Learning Challenge possible as well as new offerings such as the popular Grab & Go Kits for all ages. We are thrilled to share that one of our investments, the Teacher in the Library homework help program, will be returning to an in-person format this fall! Teachers are accredited educators who work to provide K-12 students and their families support in completing assignments and building study skills. A new, virtual component will help increase access to this important learning resource.
  • Trivia Night: The Chicago Public Library Foundation Associate Board will once again host a virtual Trivia Night event on October 14 at 6:00 PM. This year’s theme is “All Things Chicago,” inspired by the fall 2021 One Book, One Chicago season focused on the power of neighborhoods and community. This year's selection is Bedrock Faith by our 2015 21st Century Award honoree, Eric Charles May. This ticketed event is open to all and was a huge success last year, not only selling out but also exceeding its fundraising goal by 300%. More information can be found at: