Our Impact Together

Each year, donors to the Chicago Public Library Foundation contribute nearly $7 million to support the growth and excellence of Chicago Public Library.

Chicago Public Library’s 80-branch system is one of the best in the world. Why? In part, because individual, business, and foundation donors like you partner with the Chicago Public Library Foundation to invest in its exciting innovations, 21st century technologies, and responsive community programs. Your contributions help us leverage up City of Chicago funding to bring exceptional, free programming and services to every neighborhood. From signature programs like the Summer Learning Challenge and Teacher in the Library, to the professional development that keeps our librarians at the head of the field, to wonderful new early learning spaces in the branches—private support can, and does, make a real difference at Chicago Public Library. To learn more about the work supported by donors like you, read on.


Not everyone is comfortable on the computer. That’s where the CyberNavigators come in. Need to apply for a job? Set up a new email account? Connect with loved ones online? Whether one-on-one or in small classes, the CyberNavigators are there to help.

Early Learning

The first five years of a child’s life are vital to their future success. Through the Library’s early learning programs and specially-designed spaces, Chicago’s families can discover fun and free ways to support their child’s learning and development.

Maker Lab

The Library is home to the only free, public makerspaces in Chicago. Whether a new prototype or a new art technique, patrons can turn their ideas into reality thanks to The Maker Lab’s laser cutters, 3-D printers, design software, and knowledgeable staff.

One Book, One Chicago

The One Book program brings together Chicagoans from every neighborhood to explore and discuss themes that range from the city’s music and food, to its contributions to the world. Events, book clubs, discussions and more get the conversation going. So what will the next theme be? Stay tuned!

Science Connections

When kids study STEAM, they develop important skills, like the ability to think analytically, experiment, collaborate, and solve problems. In nearly every branch, K-8 students and their families can get hands-on with STEAM learning through programs, events—and even Discovery Kits that can be checked out and taken home.

Summer Learning Challenge

This city-wide program helps kids fight the “summer slide,” the loss of academic gains that can happen when kids aren’t actively learning during school breaks. More than 100,000 participants from birth to age 13 spend their summers reading, creating, and discovering at their local library—and start school in the fall ready to succeed.

Teacher in the Library

These dedicated, accredited educators work afterschool during the academic year to provide the free, quality homework help that every student deserves to have. Supported by volunteers and an online tutoring website, the Teachers make a real difference in the lives of Chicago’s students and their families.


Teens who visit one of the 12 YOUmedia sites around the city think hanging out at the Library is pretty cool. In welcoming spaces designed especially for them, and empowered by caring mentors, YOUmedia teens explore their interests, showcase their talents, and create new possibilities for their futures.

Other Programs

Professional Development – Why is Chicago Public Library one of the best libraries in the world? Because it invests in quality professional development for all its librarians and staff, so they can be even more responsive to the changing needs of patrons and communities. Your gift helps to make that happen.

Special Collections Digital Access – Primarily focused on Chicago’s rich history, these rare and unique materials—such as the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature—are made more widely accessible to scholars and the public with the help of Library Foundation donors.