Chicago Public Library Commissioner Brian Bannon joined 48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman, Chicago’s First Lady Amy Rule, community leaders and residents today for the opening of the new Edgewater Branch of the Chicago Public Library at 6000 N. Broadway. The two-story, 16,300-square-foot branch is nearly 5,300 square feet larger than the previous library, which served the community for 40 years.
“The new Edgewater Branch represents more than an investment in the future of this community, it represents opportunities for children and teens to grow and learn in new ways. The addition of more computers and more materials provides children with positive activities and resources to be successful in school,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Plus, we are happy to be able to open this in time for the kids to take part in Rahm’s Readers this summer.”
“It is with great excitement our community celebrates the opening of the new Edgewater Branch Library. The library has always served as an integral part of the lives of the residents in this neighborhood,” said 48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman. “The new library will provide the state-of-the art educational environment necessary to strengthen our neighborhood and to give our residents, young and old, the fullest opportunity for lifelong learning. Our community has also gained a beautiful and friendly space for community gathering, which will serve 48th Ward residents for many years to come.”
The $13.7 million project, managed by the Public Building Commission (PBC), is targeted to receive LEED Gold certification and includes additional spaces for community organizations and residents to meet. In addition to the large, dividable community room, two smaller study rooms offer flexible uses, from study groups to meeting space for small businesses. The public technology has increased from 10 computers to 50 desktops and four laptops available for public use, all free of charge. As with all CPL public computers, these all offer patrons access to the Internet, as well as Microsoft Office suite of productivity software, allowing them to write resumes, do homework, create spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations and more.
“We are thrilled to be able to offer Edgewater residents a 21st century library in order to better serve the needs of patrons in this diverse community,” said Library Commissioner Brian Bannon. “We know how much this community loves its library—the previous Edgewater location was one of the highest circulating branches in the city. I am sure they will appreciate all this new library offers—not only a larger building, but a larger collection, more meeting spaces, more access to technology and a focus on the teens in the neighborhood, with a separate lounge for teens and a librarian focused on teen services.”
The new enclosed teen area reflects a growing trend of libraries providing physical space dedicated to nurturing teens’ values, identity and the new skills necessary to grow and thrive. Teens will be offered a variety of STEM-based and financial literacy programs, as well as book clubs, Teen Tech Week and Teen Read Week. The expanded branch staff includes a librarian specifically for teen services.
Thanks to the strong efforts of the Library, the Alderman and the PBC working together, the new library opens in time provide Edgewater residents to take part in the revamped Summer Learning Program. This year’s Rahm’s Readers was redesigned to encourage more kids to participate and provide additional activities for kids to grow and learn, with this summer’s focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math (STEAM) skills.
The branch is also offers the services of a Teacher in the Library, a certified teacher on hand after school to assist students with homework, and a CyberNavigator, who provides one-on-one assistance to help patrons better understand technology. Both programs are supported by the generous contributions from private donors through the Chicago Public Library Foundation.
The new library branch offers collections in English, Russian, Hindi and Spanish, including books, eBooks, newspapers, magazines, educational and entertainment DVDs and databases for online research. In addition to the 50 public computers and four laptops for use in the library, the library also offers free WiFi for personal laptops and devices. Programs will include book discussions, ethnic heritage celebrations, financial planning seminars, early childhood programs, family story times and book clubs, games and Duplos, crafts, cultural programs, holiday celebrations and other programs of community interest.
The Chicago Public Library continues to encourage lifelong learning by welcoming all people and offering equal access to information, entertainment and knowledge through materials, programs and cutting-edge technology. Through its 79 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. The Harold Washington Library Center, Carter G. Woodson Regional Library and Conrad Sulzer Regional Library are open 7 days a week, the branch libraries are open 6 days a week and patrons can access all of the Library’s collections online 24 hours a day. For more information, please visit the website at www.chicagopubliclibrary.org or call the Chicago Public Library Press Office at (312) 747-4050.