The Obamas and Oprah are among the Chicago celebrities reading children’s books across the Chicago Public Library social channels.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Public Library (CPL), one of the largest libraries in the US with over 385 professional librarians, and the CPL Foundation have partnered to host ‘Live from the Library,’ a daily story time from Chicagoans for children everywhere.
“Live from the Library represents a critical resource for children and families in our communities, and I’m grateful to the librarians and notable Chicagoans for promoting literacy and putting smiles on our children’s faces,” said Mayor Lightfoot.
The reading program occurs every weekday at 10:00 AM CST on CPL’s Facebook and Instagram pages. Each week, CPL enlists librarians from the institution’s 81 branches, along with notable Chicago public figures, to bring communities together through the love of storytelling.
CPL launched ‘Live from the Library’ in response to the Covid-19 epidemic that closed all of their library branches for the first time in over 150 years. While the branches remain physically closed, the institution aims to provide equal access to information, ideas and knowledge to children around the world through its virtual reading programs, learning courses, e-books and other online resources.
This week, the program features many of Chicago’s most beloved public figures, including President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, who are scheduled to read The Word Collector by Peter Reynolds on Thursday, May 14th, followed by Oprah Winfrey on Monday, May 18th. The program also taps into many of Chicago’s cultural institutions like The Second City and Steppenwolf Theatre Company, as well as some of the city’s sports franchises like the Cubs and the Blackhawks.
The Chicago Public Library partners with the Obama Foundation
The Chicago Public Library is proud to partner with the Obama Foundation in bringing a new, 5,000-square-foot CPL branch to the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park and offering specialised programs and events for children, as well as spaces in which to learn and create. You can learn more about the CPL branch at the OPC here and see renderings of the campus. This CPL branch will house a multimedia collection with a focus on civic engagement and conduct programming to engage community members. The library includes spaces for reading and study, including homework help; a dedicated children’s area and a YOUmedia program for teens to explore the world and their own creativity using new technologies; and meeting space that will be available for public use.
“Public libraries are essential institutions, and that’s why we’re bringing a new branch of the Chicago Public Library to the Obama Presidential Center on the South Side. When it opens, it will give families one more chance to explore their interests, learn and engage with their communities. And we’re excited for you to visit one day!” said President Obama during the Live from the Library reading.
“I remember my first trip to the library and how important I felt,” shared Mrs. Obama, also during the Live from the Library reading. “It was around age four. My library card was a key that unlocked a world of knowledge and experiences,” said Mrs. Obama.
‘Live from the Library’ launched with a reading by CPL Commissioner Andrea Telli and was followed by readings from committed and passionate notable Chicagoans like former Chicago Bear Israel Idonije, storied comedic actor Jane Lynch and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
“As librarians, we know that reading books with children is the best way to encourage a lifelong love of books. This program allows us to continue this love, even when the buildings are closed,” said Commissioner Telli.
“Growing up in Colombia, I had limited access to libraries. That experience gave me an appreciation for how precious libraries are. In addition to having two children now, this is the reason it was important that I joined the Chicago Public Library Foundation Board. I want to give back and I’m proud to bring together a team to create a virtual program that serves children around the world,” said Andrés Ordóñez, CPLF board member and chief creative officer of FCB Chicago.
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