To the editors:
I commend Ben Joravsky for his article on the newly renovated Lakeview Library and the renovations that are underway at other branches listed in the Neighborhood News in the Jan. 27 edition of the Reader. This is welcomed news for a city that has yet to build a central library.
However, I want to bring to the attention of your readers that there is one heavily used branch library that has yet to be slated for renovations or even badly needed repairs.
The Rogers Park Branch Library just recently celebrated its 30th anniversary last October. This celebration went unnoticed by Commissioner Duff and others in the central administration of the Chicago Public Library. Nevertheless, the community celebrated 30 years of service that still include classes for students seeking the GED, classes teaching English as a second language, the Homework Center for elementary school students, volunteer tutors in the Adult Literacy Program and sponsorship of reading and discussion groups. Under the leadership of branch head David Clapp, this library has become a full service learning center.
Unfortunately, the central administration has not given the Rogers Park Branch the facility to match the needs of our community. These vital programs, serving a diverse community, are crammed into a floor space of 10,000 square feet. Classes have to be conducted in the children’s library at the same time that volunteer tutors are helping students with their homework.
It is nice to see that Lakeview has the ability to supply the best-sellers and show children’s video tapes. In Rogers Park, we hope that our branch library can meet the simple goal of lowering barriers to learning. We hope to see in the near future the expansion of our facilities and better support for our programs that are giving others the power of knowledge.
Kang Moy Chiu
Friends of the Rogers Park Library