All ages picketed in support of the Chicago Teachers Union during the recent walkout.

How the CPS Strike Affected Chicago School Librarians

November 8, 2019

Roughly 80% of the 514 district-run schools in the CPS system are without a librarian, and Nora Wiltse, the only CPS librarian at the bargaining table during the negotiations, says she believes the situation is likely to get worse under the new contract. Wiltse, a librarian at Coonley Elementary School who has pressed for more … Continue reading How the CPS Strike Affected Chicago School Librarians


Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (behind podium) announces the elimination of late fees throughout the Chicago Public Library system on September 30 at Woodson Regional Library with CPL Commission Andrea Telli (center, holding paper) and American Library Association Executive Director Mary Ghikas (right). (Photo: Stephanie Hlywak/American Library Association)

Chicago Public Library Goes Fine-Free

September 30, 2019

Starting October 1, CPL will eliminate overdue fines on all CPL-owned items currently in circulation, which it said will remove barriers to basic library access, especially for youth and low-income patrons. CPL’s data shows that one in five suspended library cards citywide belong to children under age 14. The data also indicates the disproportionate impact … Continue reading Chicago Public Library Goes Fine-Free


Alisun DeKock stands beside the species identification iPad in the Shedd Aquarium’s Amazon Rising habitat, as two South American tambaqui fish swim by.

Bookend: A Friend to the Fishes

March 1, 2018

The Shedd’s library of some 7,000 books is primarily for aquarium staff, interns, and volunteers and is not open to the public. The most popular materials in the collection are the field guides to various fish, plants, insects, aquatic invertebrates, and marine mammals. DeKock says that “staff members take them out on field trips because … Continue reading Bookend: A Friend to the Fishes


Steam buns at Yusho

Windy City Eats

June 1, 2017

A few years ago, I was given one of the best assignments a writer could hope for: to eat my way around Chicago and share the best restaurants in the Frommer’s EasyGuide to Chicago. American Libraries asked me to take some of my favorites and create a guide just for you, ensuring that you’re well … Continue reading Windy City Eats



Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park

Offbeat Chicago

June 1, 2017

In downtown’s Millennium Park, the Frank Gehry–designed JAY PRITZKER PAVILION offers free outdoor concerts. On the evening of  June 23 or 24, bring a picnic and enjoy the strains of Stravinsky’s The Firebird, performed by renowned American pianist Conrad Tao. Not a classical-music fan? June 22 brings a concert by folk group Hurray for the … Continue reading Offbeat Chicago



2015 ALA Midwinter Preview

2015 ALA Midwinter Preview

January 2, 2015

Sandburg could have been talking about librarians. As societal and technological shifts continue to influence (and create gaps in) who has access to information and how, librarians’ roles as the bridges connecting different and diverse communities to relevant resources becomes more prominent. Big shoulders indeed. Librarians from around the world will arrive in Chicago for … Continue reading 2015 ALA Midwinter Preview


Chicago Is Among Five Library Medalists Named by IMLS

April 24, 2014

CPL’s distinction is the culmination of several particularly innovative years for the 80-branch system. In fall 2012 the system opened a joint public–high school library facility that made the cover of American Libraries’ September/October 2012 issue. In that same issue, CPL’s prototype Innovation Lab received a shout out. Since then, freelance AL blogger Timothy Inklebarger … Continue reading Chicago Is Among Five Library Medalists Named by IMLS