Support Chicago Public Library with a gift of any level.

Leaving a Legacy at the Chicago Public Library Foundation

Meet Chicago’s former CPL Librarian, donor and supporter of the Chicago Public Library Foundation, Bill Provis!

By most people’s estimation, being a librarian is, in itself, being a public servant.  But for Bill Provis, its a lifestyle.  That’s why after many years of walking our halls, he decided to become a member of our Legacy Society – making Chicago Public Library a cornerstone in his estate planning.

About Bill and Chicago Public Library

“Working with Chicago Public Library, is where I had the most development and where I became who I was,” Provis started. “Giving back in this capacity, was the next logical step.”
Bill first came to Chicago Public Library just as the Central branch was transitioning from the Cultural Center, to our new Central branch location, the Harold Washington Library! After many great years of service, he retired in 2009 from the Prairie style Uptown Branch, as its Branch Manager.

Witnessing the Digital Divide

With so much experience in different libraries across Chicago and the midwest, we had to ask. What had changed the most since he first started working in the Library? “The technology and the internet,” he replied.  According to Provis, digitization was huge for library staff, in addition to bringing free wi-fi and computer access to the city of Chicago.  “Not everyone has a computer or internet in the home,” he explained.  “So that’s become a really important part of what we offer.”  And its true. According to a study performed in 2014 by the American Community Survey over 20% of Americans are living in a home without internet. A number that only increases in our lower income neighborhoods.

On His Hope for the Future

At the close of the interview, the avid reader, former Harold Washington Librarian and CPL philanthropist left us with this:
“My biggest wish for the Library is that it continues its role in the community in the city of Chicago…That’s where I spent most of my years and experienced my most significant development.”
Great words to live by.
And what, you might ask, is next for this retiree? “I thought I’d have more time to read!” he laughed. “But really, I’ve slowed down. I’m down to 30-50 books a year now.”

 Legacy Giving with CPLF

The Legacy Society of the Chicago Public Library Foundation allows us to celebrate the generous individuals who make an endowment gift or name the Chicago Public Library Foundation in their will or estate plan. Such planning is among the highest expressions of commitment to Chicago and its multiplicity of neighborhoods, and will strengthen our city and its citizens for generations to come.  To learn more about our Legacy Society and estate planning, we invite you to contact Audrey Peiper at