Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Chicago Public Library (CPL) Commissioner Brian Bannon, Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) CEO Eugene Jones, Jr., Alderman Anthony Beale (9th) and community members today to announce a new library at Altgeld Gardens. This new branch will provide programs for youth and families, as well as technology and workforce programs for adults, serving as a community anchor for all ages.
“We are doubling down on the residents of Chicago one neighborhood at a time by increasing access to key educational and technology tools through our library system,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Important investments like these ensure that children can build bright futures in Altgeld Gardens, across the South Side and throughout the entire City of Chicago.”
The new library to be constructed on CHA-owned land along 130th Street near Ellis Avenue will be adjacent to the Altgeld Gardens development on the city’s Far South Side. Work on this project will begin next year.
“A library is a key community asset that offers the kind of services and programs that our residents and all Chicagoans need to succeed,” said CHA CEO Eugene Jones, Jr. “Strong, healthy communities require community anchors like this and CHA is proud to invest in this project as we leverage our resources to help build better neighborhoods so our families can build better lives.”
"Libraries play a vital role in making knowledge and learning accessible, as well as offer a common space where the community comes together,” said Commissioner Brian Bannon. “The new Altgeld Gardens branch will be better designed to meet the needs of all ages in this community.”
The new library is part of a larger master plan for Altgeld Gardens, one of CHA’s oldest and most historic developments, that includes the modernization and gut rehab of 218 housing units in 25 buildings. To date, 142 of the 218 units have been completed with the remainder of the work expected to be finished in the next several weeks. Other work includes the new Gautreaux Child Development Center and other community amenities.
“We’re delighted to be here today for this long awaited library that both meets an important community need and demonstrates that when we work in partnership we can overcome any challenge,” said Alderman Anthony Beale (9th).
The new facility will include a built-out early childhood active learning space. School-aged children will have access to professional teachers for free small group and one-on-one homework assistance. Children and teens will have access to technology, resources, and classes that inspire exploration, creativity and learning, including the YOUmedia digital and early childhood learning centers.
In recent years, CPL has increased technology and workforce programs for adults. The new branch will offer computer classes and one-on one coaching to build digital literacy and technology skills for adults and seniors. Staff will be trained to connect job-seekers to best-in-class career services provided by workforce development organizations and educational institutions. The Library will also continue to partner with expert workforce organizations to deliver trainings on additional skills, such as resume writing, interview prep and industry-specific skills. Traditional library programs, such as book clubs for seniors and intergenerational educational and cultural programming will also be available.
Public Libraries have always been, and continue to be, in the knowledge business. Each year, Chicago Public Library offers 100,000 computer-help sessions, free online and in-person homework help citywide and draws almost 10 million visitors per year. Demand for learning services continues to grow in Chicago neighborhoods and investment in current and new library buildings is necessary to meet community needs.
Since 1873, Chicago Public Library (CPL) has encouraged lifelong learning by welcoming all people and offering equal access to information, entertainment and knowledge through innovative services and programs, as well as cutting-edge technology. Through its 80 locations, the Library provides free access to a rich collection of materials, both physical and digital, and presents the highest quality author discussions, exhibits and programs for children, teens and adults. CPL received the Social Innovator Award from Chicago Innovation Awards; won a National Medal for Library Services from the Institute for Museum and Library Services; was named the first ever winner of the National Summer Learning Association’s Founder’s Award in recognition of its Summer Learning Challenge; and was ranked number one in the U.S., and third in the world by an international study of major urban libraries conducted by the Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf in Germany. For more information, please call (312) 747-4050 or visit chipublib.org.