Mayor’s Office and CPL commit to rolling out Sunday hours at all 81 branches by the end of 2020
Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and Chicago Public Library (CPL) Commissioner Andrea Telli today announced the rollout of Sunday hours at nine additional library branches beginning December 22. Branches will continue to roll out implementation of Sunday hours throughout 2020 in all 81 of CPL’s branch locations.
“For Chicago to thrive, we need all of our residents – especially our young people – connected to rich, engaging, and safe environments where they can be empowered to explore their passions and develop their talents,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Our libraries are critical to helping us achieve that vision.”
Mayor Lightfoot and CPL Commissioner Andrea Telli first announced the planned Sunday hours expansion in June 2019 as part of an ongoing effort by CPL and the Mayor’s Office to ensure library services are more equitable and accessible for all Chicagoans. The first nine branches set to open on December 22 are Portage-Cragin, Northtown, Dunning, Little Italy, Toman, Hall, Whitney Young, West Pullman, and Chicago Lawn. Legler Regional, which will open next year with Sunday hours, is currently under renovation, and therefore, three surrounding branches – Douglass, Richard M. Daley, and Austin – are already open on Sundays to continue to provide comprehensive service to the area. Lastly, in addition to Harold Washington Library, two of CPL’s regional branches – Sulzer Regional and Woodson Regional –are also already open on Sundays.
“Every hour a library is open is another hour when patrons of all ages can come in to continue learning and growing in a safe, helpful environment,” said Commissioner Telli. “We’re thrilled to welcome back patrons who may have had difficulty accessing their local library because of Sunday closures, whether because of work schedules, religious reasons, or simply the many everyday obstacles that pop up during the week.
On Oct. 1, Chicago became the largest city in the country to eliminate public library overdue fines on all CPL-owned items currently in circulation, removing unfair barriers to basic library access, especially for youth and low-income patrons.
“Opening libraries seven days a week not only benefits my community, but communities across Chicago,” said Alderman Debra Silverstein. “It is vital that all Chicago residents have greater access to one of Chicago’s greatest resources – our public libraries.”
In the past year, CPL has also opened several co-use branches that include senior housing attached to branch libraries in partnership with Chicago Housing Authority and expanded their successful YOUmedia teen program to sites across the city with the help of a significant grant from the Comcast Foundation’s Internet Essentials program. In addition, CPL will open the West Side’s first regional library since the 1970s with the renovation and reopening of Legler Regional Library next year.
The Sunday hours expansion at CPL builds on a series of efforts made by the Lightfoot administration to increase access to resources across the city such as establishing mobile city halls, banning water shut offs and expanding the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund.