Maggie Killackey(CPL), (312) 747-4051
Calling it “the cornerstone of a strong community,” Mayor Richard M. Daley today celebrated the grand opening of the Oriole Park Branch Library, the 44th new or fully renovated library to open since he became mayor in 1989.
“Libraries are community anchors, and they contribute immeasurably to the quality of life in our neighborhoods,” Daley said at a ceremony at the new library, 7454 W. Balmoral Ave. “That’s why my administration has placed such a high priority on libraries, even at a time when budgets are very tight.”
The 14,000 square foot library, which replaces a 3,000-square-foot storefront facility, was built at a cost of $5 million, with $1.2 million coming from the State of Illinois. It contains a $400,000 collection of books, newspapers and magazines for children, teens and adults.
The library offers free Internet classes; online research databases; audio books on tape and compact discs; educational videos and DVDs; Polish language materials; special collections featuring Chicago history; and employment materials.
Additional features include children and adult reading rooms, a reading garden, a large auditorium with a seating capacity of 120 and free parking.
The new facility meets the standards of the 1991 Americans with Disabilities Act and is designed to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification by the U. S. Green Building Council.
It is expected to be 20 percent more efficient than required by the new Chicago Energy Conservation Code. It has an energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, and a lighting system that automatically adjusts to make maximum use of natural daylight.
At least 5 percent of the building is made from recycled materials, and more than 20 percent of the materials were manufactured within 500 miles of Chicago. The parking lot was made from highly reflective concrete to reduce the urban heat island effect, and includes an electric car recharging area.
Daley noted that the City’s commitment to libraries “extends beyond bricks and mortar.”
The Library recently offered jobs to 17 librarians who have received, or soon will receive, master’s degrees in Library Science, he said. Later this summer, 23 more new librarians will be hired or promoted.
“This is the single largest group of new librarians being hired by an urban public library in America this year,” Daley said.
He urged parents and guardians to enroll their children in the Chicago Public Library’s Summer Reading Program, which is based on the Olympics.
Children who participate in the Summer Reading Program and make weekly book reports will have a chance to win T-shirts, paperback books and other great prizes. Last year more than 36,000 kids read more than 582,000 books during the Summer Reading Program.
In addition to offering the Summer Reading Program, the Oriole Park branch will host numerous programs for children, including story times, family programs and craft and holiday celebrations. Adult and young adult programs will include book discussions, author appearances and many educational, cultural and other programs of community interest.
Saturday, June 26, will be the Oriole Park Branch Family Day. Between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., the library will host crafts, storytelling and other fun activities. Patrons will have the opportunity to get to know their library and sign up for library programs.
The Oriole Park library’s hours of service are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
The Chicago Public Library is composed of the Harold Washington Library Center, two regional libraries and 76 neighborhood branches. The Library provides free access to the Internet in all of its locations and offers a rich resource of books, DVDs, videos and more, as well as free public programs for children, teens and adults. For more information, visit the Li