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2019 A Year -End Review

What an empowering year it has been! As we look forward to the new year, let’s look back at the 2019 highlights we have journeyed through together.

Women on a mission

In February, Brenda Langstraat joined the Chicago Public Library Foundation as president. In August, Andrea Telli was appointed commissioner and CEO of Chicago Public Library. Together, they work to empower Chicagoans with access, equity, and opportunity through the innovative programs of the Library.

Branch Openings

“Libraries in neighborhoods matter. They are more than just buildings. To many, they are first stops and last resorts. For some, libraries are the only safe haven they have access to.”

Understanding the role of the Library as a community anchor, CPL opened 4 additional branches: Independence, Little Italy, Northtown, and West Loop.

An Electric Party in the Library

Cosmic gastronomy and intergalactic beats, the 2019 Night in the Stacks by the Foundation’s Associate Board, was out of this world. More than 400 bibliophiles partied at The Winter Garden, raising over $175,000 to power our Library and empower every Chicagoan. Check out the event photo recap.

Celebrating a Decade of Teen Expression with a Block Party

On September 28th more than 500 teens, alumni, and mentors filled the streets to celebrate everything YOUmedia. Guests enjoyed live musical performances, immersive art experiences, online tournaments, and other fun teen activities! Read how much YOUmedia means to Chicago’s teens.

Library Champions unite!

From an interactive film screening of Blade Runner at Gene Siskel Film Center to a summer rooftop party to some friendly competition at Lagunitas, the Library Foundation’s Associate Board brings FUN to fundraising. Check out the photos!

Fines Don’t Fly at CPL

Chicago Public Library takes access and equity to the next level. On October 1, CPL became the largest library system in the nation to go fine-free. As a result, “The amount of books returned has increased by 240%”, says Commissioner Telli. The Library is getting its books and patrons back! Got questions about the fine-free policy? Click here.

Dr. Eve L. Ewing and George R.R. Martin

George R.R. Martin and Dr. Eve L. Ewing Celebrate the Power of Chicago Public Library.

On October 10th, Carl Sandburg Literary Award Honoree, George R.R. Martin and 21st Century Award Winner, Dr. Eve L. Ewing, joined 87 guests and more than 950 civic and corporate leaders echo a story that resonates with us all: Chicago Public Library empowers Chicagoans and transforms communities.

For one night, the Library’s most ardent champions and advocates gathered to over $2.2 million in celebration of everything that the Library stands for – access, equity, and opportunity for every Chicagoan. Relive this once-in-a-lifetime experience here.

Chicago Public Library Opens on Sundays

“Every hour a library is open is an hour where a new reader, a resident or a lifelong learner can experience the magic of libraries.”

CPL is rolling out Sunday hours at nine additional branches beginning December 22. Sunday hours to all 81 branches will take place next year.


Donors like you make possible:

$6 million investment in a stronger, more connected Chicago through our 81 neighborhood branches.

460,000 Chicagoans of all ages  served through above and beyond programs and services at the Library

236,000 hours of 1:1 support provided by our homework helpers, digital literacy tutors, and teen mentors.

Thank you for powering our Library and empowering every Chicagoan this 2019! There is still time to make more possible. A year-end gift of $50 will guarantee homework help for 5 students, fund 8 children’s participation in the Summer Learning Challenge, gives 10 teens a safe haven to discover, and realize their potential, and provides 2 adult learners with one-on-one digital literacy lessons. Chicago Public Library Foundation