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Community Member Spotlight: Ian Champ is a Champion of the Library

Ian Champ’s local library introduced him to a world of new music when he was a kid. Today, he’s a Chicago Public Library Foundation supporter powering the Library to provide access to information and resources to Chicagoans across 77 neighborhoods.

Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card!

Ian Champ (right) at a Chicago Public Library Foundation donor event.

Ian Champ has multiple library cards. Not because he misplaces them, but because every time he moves to a new state, he makes it a point to become a member of his local library.

“When I moved to Bloomington for grad school, I got into the Indiana University Library system. When I moved to DC, getting my library card was one of the first things I did,” he said. “And I did the same thing when I moved to Chicago. It’s just almost part of my moving checklist—getting my library card.”

But Ian’s Library story dates back a little further. Growing up in Indianapolis in what we can call “pre-streaming” days, he spent time at his local library perusing through music and movies, discovering musicians and films he had never heard of before. “The library opened up my world in ways I never thought possible. The Library changed my life in that aspect.” Eventually, Ian’s mother began working at the Library and he spent more and more time there with her.

A library lover turned Library supporter

Today, Ian is a proud member of the Chicago Public Library Foundation community. He joined in early 2019, just months after moving to the city and becoming more involved with his community.
But what specifically made him want to become a supporter? Several things, really, but all reasons point back to giving back to an institution that empowers its patrons.

“I wanted to make sure that if I am in a place to give then I do give. If I can’t give my time or if I can’t be a part of the programming as much as I want to be or can be, at least I am giving a little bit of support for the overall mission and programming,” he shared.

Ian, whose neighborhood library is the Logan Square branch, is especially passionate about the Library’s role as a community hub for Chicagoans. “Whenever I think of the community, I think of the public library. That is one of the quintessential institutions of the neighborhood that draws us all together. It’s a space for all of us. It’s a place of belonging.”

Supporting access to knowledge

Similarly, Ian views the Library as a hub of knowledge and resources for Chicagoans of all ages. “Information is power and the Library opens up so many doors to this knowledge,” he muses. “Just because maybe, you’ve got your own Internet and your own laptop and you can access things on your own, doesn’t mean that everybody has that opportunity. That’s one aspect of it. Making sure that information is available and the ability to access information is available to all.”

To Ian, access to information changes lives, regardless of what shape or form that information is in. For him, it was music, but for others, it could be books or resources like free homework help or introductions to making workshops.

“You choose when you go to the Library, and you choose what to check out. Maybe you start a book, and you end up thinking, ‘I didn’t really like this…’ but you still learned something. Maybe you can’t put it into words, but your world is now a little bit different because you’ve read or listened to or seen that thing. And the Library opens that up for people,” he says.

Thank you, Ian, for all that you do as a Monthly Giver. You help power our Library and empower Chicagoans with access to critical resources and programming.  

As we heal and recover from the challenges of 2020, our priority is to ensure Chicagoans of all ages and stages of life have access to the support and services necessary to rebuild lives and revitalize communities – across 81 branches in 77 neighborhoods—365 days a year. Join our monthly giving community and together, let’s make more possible.