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Shlah: The Stickney library gears up for change

Published: Thursday, May 8, 2014 2:11 p.m. CDT
(Photo provided)
Heather Shlah is the director of the Stickney-Forest View Public Library District.

The Stickney-Forest View Public Library District is pleased to announce the retention of the architectural firm StudioGC Inc. to assist us in re-booting our library. In the years since the library was built, the mission of libraries has evolved from what some thought of as a “warehouses for books” model (complete with “shushing” librarians) to that of a lively community center that serves the public in ways that would not have been imagined when the library was originally planned and constructed. 

Since our visioning process has only just begun – I can only try to paint a picture of what the library’s future might look like. The library will continue to boast a robust collection of books, printed materials and electronic information resources. The canvas alters however when I include a scene of the library facilitating public events and acting as a convenient and flexible venue. The library, in this painting, becomes a place where people can connect with others. 

The canvas also features environments that foster collaborative interaction and learning –areas for writing, music performance, video production, video editing and the creation of physical objects utilizing 3-D printers.  The Stickney-Forest View Public Library becomes a place where people come to create. The nature of this creativity includes specialized areas dedicated to user groups such as preschoolers, young readers, students and teens, as well as for those who seek the traditional quiet environment in which to read and conduct research. While the process has just begun, I invite you to participate. Please stay tuned for public opinion events where your suggestions and ideas will be sought after.  We hope to commence this project in the early fall.

This reboot does not stop with our physical location. Commencing late summer, we hope to be taking our library services on the road. Thanks to a developing partnership with the Township of Stickney, it is looking like central Stickney residents will be able attend our library programs at the Stickney Public Health District Central location.  Stay tuned for details on this, and on our free event busing service from Central Stickney to the Library that has been developed through a partnership with the Central Stickney Park District. 

I write a lot about change and community in this column, and sometimes the things that I write about are mere dreams and hopes – this time however, things are really starting to happen. Come witness the magic at the Stickney-Forest View Public Library District, and check us out on Facebook or at www.sfvpld.org.

Heather E. Shlah is director of the Stickney-Forest View Public Library

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