May 26, 2022

Illinois: Not All Suburban Libraries are Created Equal

Adriana Cardona from WBEZ (Chicago’s Public Radio Station) provides a look at how two libraries from Chicago’s suburbs are finding, “innovative ways to serve patrons, some with far fewer resources than others.”

The two libraries profiled are the Arlington Heights Memorial Library located about 25 miles northwest of downtown and the Cicero Public Library located 10 miles west of downtown Chicago (literally due west of McCormick Place where ALA just concluded).

From the Article:

On paper these libraries don’t look that different. Both serve around 80 thousand people but their spending per capita is wildly different. As of 2011, the Arlington Heights library had $177.29 to spend per person. In Cicero they had $20.97 per person – nearly nine times less.


Unlike Chicago Public Libraries which have a centralized funding system, nearly 90 percent of the money for suburban libraries comes from their local property tax dollars. The rest comes from public and private grants.

“Some libraries have people that do nothing but look for grants, or that’s a big part of their job, and we don’t have that resource here,” [Jane] Schoen [Director of the Cicero Public Library] said.

Read the Complete Article (Includes Chart)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( 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, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.