Angela Burke grew up at the library. “Especially in summer, I used to always participate in the reading programs to get free Pizza Hut coupons,” she remembers. “I’ve always been a lifelong library user. I think the first question I asked a librarian was, ‘Where can I find a Babysitter’s Club book?’ I read them all – I even got the author to autograph a book for me!”
Angela’s childhood home was in DeKalb. She remembers when she was young, riding down the Congress Expressway on her way
to her grandmother’s house. On each trip, she’d check on the construction progress of the new Harold Washington Library Center. “I couldn’t stop looking at it,” she says. “I’ve always been a library user, but to be honest, Chicago Public Library chose me,” notes Angela, who runs her own restaurant marketing firm, Chef Groupie. “I went to a Literary Festival and walked up to a booth for the Chicago Public Library Foundation. They gave me some information about volunteering – and I knew. There wasn’t even a question. This was my cause. I had to be a part of it.” Today she is the dynamic leader of the Chicago Public Library Foundation Junior Board.
“Our work on the Junior Board is really about the Library’s mission. Many of us are transplants from other cities, some are native Chicagoans, but we all grew up at the library,” she stresses. “This is the best board I have ever worked on. Everyone is so down-to-earth. There are no egos here. We come together to support the great work of Chicago Public Library.”
The 50-member Junior Board is fast becoming one of the most high-impact junior boards in Chicago. It holds events throughout the year, and its signature event, Night in the Stacks, is a sell-out, with more than 400 young and young-at-heart Chicagoans celebrating and supporting the Library and the Library Foundation. Beyond the collaborative social aspects of serving on the Junior Board, Angela says supporting Chicago Public Library is deeply meaningful to her. “I really have a soft spot for kids.
You can’t turn a blind eye to what’s happening with our youth. The library is a place for kids and teens to learn and explore their own interests and passions.”
“Libraries throughout the city are becoming more like community learning centers. Young people can come and get help with their homework. They can learn the latest technology at the Maker Lab. They can explore their creative side in YOUmedia. The library creates access for everyone,” Angela continues. “Where else can you go to try 3-D printing?”
We Asked: What’s on her bookshelf?
- Adrian Miller, Soul Food
- Any cookbook by Rick Bayless
This article originally appeared in the Chicago Public Library and Chicago Public Library Foundation joint Annual Report. Thank you to our good donors who make these successes possible at Chicago Public Library. Please consider contributing a donation of your own here.