Meet our 2024 Library Foundation Award honorees.

Community Member Spotlight: Lilliane, A Bibliophile Who Understands the Impact of Chicago Public Library

“The Library is one of the few institutions that does not ask for anything in return (other than the books, of course!)”

The Library and Lilliane throughout the years

It was 2013. Lilliane was a young AmeriCorps member and needed to print materials for her students. As a volunteer, she did not have the resources to pay for printing. Where did she go? Her local library.

Cut to 2014. Lilliane had just moved to Chicago. “I did not have a smartphone at the time and needed to connect to the Internet,” she recalls. Where did she go? The Library.

Let’s jump to 2017. Lilliane was preparing for a job interview. She needed a quiet space to review her resume and get ready for the interview. Where did she go? The Library.

Fast forward to 2020, COVID-19 forced the city and the rest of the country to stay at home. Even the Library had to close its doors temporarily. What kept Lilliane company? The stacks and stacks of books she checked out from, you guessed it, the Library.

Then and now, Chicago Public Library has remained a constant in Lilliane’s life. “I go to the Library as part of my trip to the grocery store during the weekends,” she shares gleefully. It is also a part of her bike route from the lakefront.

A voracious reader, Lilliane can easily comb through 50 books each year. And most of her finds come from the stacks.

The priceless value of the Library

Lilliane’s connection to the Library is more than just about books. “What’s incredibly charming about libraries is that you can visit whether you have a reason to be there or not,” she says. While Lilliane loves to sit and read, she also enjoys simply basking in the quiet. “I especially like people-watching at the King branch,” Lilliane shares.

More importantly, Lilliane understands the priceless value of the Library. “You can use the Library in so many ways—reading, connecting to the Internet, applying for jobs, connecting with neighbors, attending in-person or virtual events, and so much more. What is even more remarkable is that these resources are available and free for everyone.”

“What is so mind-blowing about Chicago Public Library is that there’s one in every neighborhood!” – Lilliane

Any contribution goes a long way

Lilliane has been a member of the Chicago Public Library Foundation community for four years. “After checking out books from the Library’s website, I scrolled down to the bottom of the page and saw the Library Foundation link.” She has been powering our Library since.

So what made this avid Library user become a supporter? “Honestly, I save so much money by using the Library. I read a lot. If I were to purchase those books, my budget would suffer,” Lilliane shared. “Given that I take advantage of a lot of CPL’s resources, I want to give back. And I know that my contribution to the Library Foundation will impact so many people. It can fund free after-school tutorials for students, provide teens with youth mentors, and help adults improve their digital skills.”

“It’s easy to make the decision to donate because my support does so much for so many people.”

Reunited, and it feels so good

When Lilliane learned that the King branch had reopened, she biked her way there as soon as she could. “It felt like a grand reunion. I was so excited to see familiar faces,” she beamed. Lilliane said hello to the librarians and security staff (from a safe distance) as she picked up her holds.

“The Library was always there for me. Even when it closed, I could still enjoy the Library at home thanks to their website and applications. It’s a resource I will never ever take for granted,” Lilliane shares.

Thank you, Lilliane, for being part of the Chicago Public Library Foundation community. You empower Chicagoans with access to critical Library resources, tools, and services.

Chicago Public Library Foundation community members are Chicagoans just like you— parents, students, grandparents, teachers, nurses, professionals, and library lovers dedicated to delivering access and equity across 77 neighborhoods through critical library resources and services.

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