January 18, 2022

Libraries “Look Beyond the Shelves” in the Chicago Area

A look at several projects and services going on at libraries in and around Chicago.

It’s wonderful to read such a positive and lengthy article (1500 words) in a large metropolitan daily newspaper.

Our only issue is that there is little mention of the many services libraries (including the ones mentioned) offer outside of the library building. From Q&A chat services to research databases to classic telephone reference.

In other words, in many situations the reach of the library extends beyond the physical structure and can be accessed 24x7x365.

Libraries mentioned in the article include:

  • Chicago Public Library
  • Glenview Public Library
  • Arlington Heights Memorial Library
  • Oak Lawn Public Library
  • Rika Mansueto Library and Joseph Regenstein Library, University of Chicago

From the Article:

Times are changing in America, and if you want to see an institution trying to change with them, using every technological and conceptual tool it can, look no further than your local public library.


Arlington Heights Memorial Library just finished a $2.8 million renovation, expanding from four study rooms to 14, the biggest large enough for board meetings. One local nonprofit convenes its board there.

“We were having to turn people away,” said Jason Kuhl, executive director of the library. “They were originally study rooms, but what we were finding, there were more businesspeople coming in and using them.”

Libraries are shifting from places where you look up facts to places where you learn skills.


The Chicago Public Library started its YOUmedia program three years ago.

“It challenges your assumptions about what a library ought to look like [with] a crowd of kids, playing video games, eating lunch,” said Brian Bannon, commissioner of the Chicago Public Library. “But it’s a fully engaged, interactive learning environment that connects kids through their interests to opportunities to learn.”


[The] Joseph Regenstein Library has a staffed tech help center, the “Techb@r,” that not only has experts available to consult on electronic issues, but a range of equipment ­— iPads, laptops, cables, cameras — students can check out.

Read the Complete Article

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.