Obamas, Oprah & Others Among Chicagoans Joining Librarians to Read Through “Live From the Library”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Public Library (CPL), one of the largest libraries in the U.S. 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.

“Our libraries are more than just buildings to check out books, they’re our community meeting places, early-education and job-training centers, and where our young people are empowered to explore their passions and pursue their dreams,” said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “Today, that mission is more urgent than ever as our residents – particularly our children – seek new ways to grow and learn while staying safe amidst the COVID-19 crisis. ‘Live from the Library’ stands as a wonderful new resource in that effort, and I’m grateful to the librarians and notable Chicagoans for their commitment to promote literacy and open new worlds of imagination and wonder across our city’s neighborhoods.”

The reading program occurs every weekday at 10:00 A.M. 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 14, followed by Oprah Winfrey on Monday, May 18. 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.

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 specialized 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 Idonijestoried 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.

For press or partnership inquiries, please contact livefromthelibrary@chipublib.org

About Chicago Public Library
Since 1873, Chicago Public Library (CPL) has encouraged lifelong learning by welcoming all people and offering equal access to information, entertainment and knowledge through innovative services and programs, as well as cutting-edge technology. Through its 81 locations, the Library provides free access to a rich collection of materials, both physical and digital, and presents the highest-quality author discussions, exhibits and programs for children, teens and adults. CPL received the Social Innovator Award from Chicago Innovation Awards; won a National Medal for Library Services from the Institute for Museum and Library Services; was named the first-ever winner of the National Summer Learning Association’s Founder’s Award in recognition of its Summer Learning Challenge; and was ranked number one in the U.S. and third in the world by an international study of major urban libraries conducted by the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf in Germany. For more information, please call (312) 747-4050 or visit chipublib.org. To follow CPL on social media, visit us on Twitter (@chipublib), Facebook (@chipublib) or Instagram (@chicagopubliclibrary).

About the Obama Foundation
The Obama Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to inspire, empower and connect people to change their world. That mission begins on the South Side of Chicago, where the Foundation is building the Obama Presidential Center. The Obama Presidential Center represents a historic opportunity for Chicago: a chance to build a world-class museum and public gathering space that celebrates our nation’s first African American President and First Lady, steps away from where he began his career, where she was raised and where — together — they made their home. Not only will the Center generate billions of dollars of economic opportunity and help reconnect and revitalize Jackson Park, it will also serve as a reminder to young visitors — from around the city and from around the world — that their potential is limitless.

About FCB
FCB (Foote, Cone & Belding) is a global, award-winning and fully integrated marketing communications company with a heritage of creativity and success dating from 1873. Named Cannes Lions 2019 North American Creative Agency of the Year and a 2019 Ad Age A-List global top 10, FCB focuses on creating “Never Finished” campaign ideas that have the power to transform brands, businesses and communities. With more than 8,000 people in 109 operations in 80 countries, the company is part of the Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE: IPG). Visit fcb.com or follow @FCBglobal on Instagram and Twitter and FCB Global on Facebook.

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