According to branch manager Shirley Yee, about 500 people visit the brick building on Fullerton Avenue every day. Ranging in age, patrons come for social meetups and family play dates, to use the free WiFi or log onto one of the 17 computers. They drop in day and night to check out books, movies and music, and more.
So if you’re not one of them, here are a few reasons you should be.
1. Digital entertainment is free.
The Chicago Public Library offers thousands of ebooks and audiobooks, movies, music and magazines on the library website, www.chicagopubliclibrary.org. View eBooks on your favorite device, browse zines electronically through Zinio, and stream movies and music with a Hoopla account—all free for members.
2. When school’s in session, the library is too.
Starting Sept. 8, the Logan Square branch will have a teacher of its own. Miss Gina will be on hand to help kids with homework assignments from 4 pm to closing from Monday to Thursday. There’s no charge and no appointment needed.
Can’t make it to the library? The Brainfuse program, available on the library website, offers homework help from 2 pm to 11 pm daily in all the core subjects and in English and Spanish.
For younger kids, there’s story time at 10:30 am on Mondays for children from 3 to 5, and on Wednesdays at 10:30 am for toddlers up to 3.
3. Meet Victoria, the Cyber Navigator.
Available to help with basic computer skills, MS Office, resume building, job searching, sourcing material for homework assignments, filling out online forms and more, Victoria is at your service four days a week. Her office hours are Monday 10 am to 3 pm; Tuesday 12 pm to 5 pm; Wednesday 1 pm to 6 pm; and Saturday 10 am to 3 pm.
4. Recommendations from a real person.
Librarian Michael Cienfuegos has made it his life mission to help you find just what you’re looking for. He’s been with the Chicago Public Library for more than 10 years, and his dedication hasn’t faded one bit. “It’s like the old Marshall Field’s motto, ‘Give the lady what she wants,’ I set everyone on the right path to what they need,” Cienfuegos says.
5. Learn to flirt in Spanish, Japanese or Punjabi.
Mango Languages offers 60 online language programs for library patrons, including English. With your library card, you can access it at home too.
6. It’s not just a library, it’s a community center.
Housing everything from book clubs to knitting circles, the library boasts two meeting areas that can be combined, thanks to a removable wall. Available Monday to Saturday on a first-come, first-served basis. You can even bring your own covered, nonalcoholic beverage.
Become a Library Member
In this crazy age of instant entertainment where you can get everything for a price, it’s refreshing to know the library is keeping up with a smile. “We want everybody’s library experience to be fantastic,” Shirley says. “If there’s anything you need from us, just ask! We’ll do our best to make it happen.”
If you want to be a card-carrying member of the Chicago Public Library, stop by 3030 W. Fullerton (or any library branch) and bring a current photo ID with a Chicago address. No ID? Just bring two of the following: a piece of mail, utility bill, personal check or voter registration card.