Maggie Killackey, Chicago Public Library, (312) 747-4051
Mayor Richard M. Daley today joined Austin community leaders and residents to dedicate the 50th neighborhood library that has been built or completely renovated since he first took office in 1989.
“No other city can come close to matching that record,” Daley said at a ceremony at the new West Chicago Avenue Branch of the Chicago Public Library at 4856 W. Chicago Ave. “And we will be opening two more libraries very soon – in Bucktown and on the Southeast Side.
“While other cities have cut library budgets and hours, the Chicago Public Library has a healthy and steady budget. Our branches are full of people enjoying innovative programming, and our three largest libraries are open seven days week.”
Daley added, “Libraries are the core of democracy. They allow anyone — regardless of age, income or background – to have access to a wealth of information. Generations of Chicagoans will come to this library for enlightenment and entertainment, and to learn new skills that will lead to better jobs.
“Children will come here to enjoy story hours and to learn to read. Their parents will participate in book discussion groups and learn more about health care, financial and legal matters. Seniors will come here to check out books and to learn how to e-mail and surf the Internet.”
Daley was joined at the dedication by Ald. Emma Mitts (37th) and Chicago Public Library Commissioner Mary A. Dempsey.
The 7,000-square-foot, full-service library has 12 free Internet computers and 2 Find It! catalog computers, free WiFi access, online research databases, audio books and a $400,000 opening day collection of books and materials, including bestsellers, young adult and children’s books, reference books, career materials, newspapers, magazines and a wide range of resources to meet the needs of the neighborhood.
The new branch library will offer children’s programs such as the Summer Reading Program, story times, family programs, story crafts and holiday celebrations. Adult programs will include book discussions, author appearances and a host of educational and cultural programs of community interest.
The library is also equipped with a comfortable multipurpose room/auditorium that will accommodate 50 people, a photocopier for public use, community bulletin boards, clean air heating and air-conditioning and free parking for patrons. The library meets the Americans with Disabilities Act standards and is accessible to several public transportation routes.
The building was constructed with environmentally friendly and recycled materials to reduce operating costs through energy efficiency. The Chicago Public Library and the Public Building Commission are applying to the U.S. Green Building Council for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) certification, which would designate the branch as a “Green Building.” A LEED-certified building must meet environmental and energy efficiency standards in construction, performance and comfort.
The new branch will be open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will be closed on Sundays.
At the dedication, the Chicago Public Library celebrated the beginning of its 2006 Summer Reading Program, Wrapped Up In Reading. Chicagoans between the ages of 3 to 14 are encouraged to head to their neighborhood libraries and participate in the free eight-week program.
This year’s theme, Wrapped Up In Reading, celebrates the exciting world of Ancient Egypt, highlighting the life of King Tut. Through a partnership with Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History, the program will promote a summer of reading, story times and Egyptian-themed educational and craft activities.
“The Chicago Public Library’s Summer Reading Program is a fun, easy and free way for kids to connect reading with the excitement of Ancient Egypt,” said Dempsey. “By visiting their local library, reading exciting books