About Us

Adult and child work on craft at Bookamania

2012 Year in Review

2012 was a year of change and success at the Chicago Public Library, thanks to the generous donors to the Chicago Public Library Foundation who support the Library’s programs, collections and technology initiatives.

Programs for Children and Teens

Rahm’s Readers, You Are What You Read, the Chicago Public Library’s 2012 summer reading program, focused on wellness, nutrition and healthy living practices. You Are What You Read was spectacularly successful in achieving that goal: 60,232 children read and reported on 1,505,807 books.

Bookamania, the Chicago Public Library’s annual children’s book festival, funded by Target, took place Saturday, November 17 at the Harold Washington Library Center. Over 7,000 children participated in this all-day, book-filled event featuring crafts, puppets, storytellers and strolling book characters that brought beloved children’s books to life. Target was again the sponsor of this free event for Chicago’s kids.

ScienceConnections, a Chicago Public Library program established in 2011 and generously funded by Peoples Gas and Motorola Solutions, worked throughout 2012 to bring Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programming to Chicago’s children. To broaden the engagement of youth around natural science concepts, the program focuses on widening the conceptual framework of science programming for youth to include hands-on learning/inquiry-based learning through the sciences.

Chicago Reads Together, the Chicago Public Library’s early literacy initiative, continues to pass on early literacy skills to parents and caregivers at free programs in branch libraries. JPMorgan Chase funded an initiative to bring early literacy skills to families in Pilsen in a culturally sensitive manner that addresses the particular early literacy needs of Hispanic families. A partnership with PNC Bank expanded early literacy to include early financial literacy at nine branch libraries in the Grow Up Great program.

YOUmedia, the Chicago Public Library’s innovative teen digital learning space at the Harold Washington Library Center, expanded in 2011 to three neighborhood libraries thanks to federal Broadband Technology Opportunity Funds (BTOP) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and continues to serve teens throughout the city. YOUmedia links teens to books, provides opportunities for self-expression through the creation of literature-based digital artifacts and teaches teens skills to help them succeed in life.

Teachers in the Library help children in communities of high need understand and complete their homework assignments, become more focused on their studies and improve their classroom performance; and they provide support to the parents/caregivers of participating children. Teachers in the Library provided 24,000 hours of homework help to Chicago’s at-risk children and youth in 2012. Expansion of the program has become a key focus of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, prompting the Chicago Public Library to implement program enhancements that will broaden the program while delivering it in a more cost-effective manner.

Programs for Teens and Adults

One Book, One Chicago celebrated its 11th anniversary in 2012. Many thousands of Chicagoans—typically around 25,000—read the same book at the same time twice each year, including high school students who participate through school book clubs. This nationally acclaimed program featured Yiyun Li’s Gold Boy, Emerald Girl for the spring 2012 program and Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief as the fall 2012 selection. One Book, One Chicago is funded by Allstate and BMO Harris Bank. 

Programs for All Ages

CyberNavigators are highly trained, tech-savvy, customer service-oriented computer tutors who work 20 hours a week in 45 Chicago Public Library locations. In addition to teaching computer basics, CyberNavigators assist countless patrons in searching for and finding jobs by providing Internet search guidance in the use of job posting and resume writing websites, and in filling out online job applications. 33% of Chicagoans rely on the Chicago Public Library to access the Internet. In 2012, CyberNavigators assisted over 90,000 Chicagoans, 60% of whom were job-seekers. Over 350 people have reported that a CyberNavigator helped them get a job.

Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner

The Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner, held October 17, 2012, honored Don DeLillo, Walter Isaacson and Nami Mun for their literary contributions. Over 500 people attended this star-studded event, which featured a renowned author at each table and raised a record $1.5 million in support of the Chicago Public Library Foundation and the programs, collections and technology initiatives of the Chicago Public Library that are funded by the Chicago Public Library Foundation.