News

Celebrate Black History Month at Waukegan Public Library

Post date: Friday, January 16, 2015 - 4:11pm

In celebration of this year’s Black History Month, the Waukegan Public Library will present two family interactive programs about African culture by storyteller Oba William King and JUSTUSarts Educational Entertainment.

We Speak in Rhythm on Monday, February 9 at 6 p.m.,takes a look at the African American experience through the fundamental role that artistic expression has played in shaping the lives of African Americans and America’s rich heritage. This cultural program is presented by King, a poetic storyteller who brings stories, poetry, and cultural songs to life through interactive, dynamic presentations. Some of the stories, folklore, and folk tales include “Monkey and the Snake” and “Anansi the Spider”, poetry written by Maya Angelou and Langston Hughes, and Negro spirituals such as “Go Down Moses”, “Strange Fruit”, and “Change Gonna Come”.

On Saturday, February 28 at 3:30 p.m. there will be an interactive drumming program for all ages that celebrates the unifying power of rhythm and music. The Community Unity Drum Circle will begin with a history of drums, including proper placement of hands, tones, and voice. Everyone can join in the drumming with their own drums, bongos, rhythm sticks and shakers or can use one of the handmade African style Djembe drums.

Both of the library’s Black History Month programs are presented by Oba William King and JUSTUSarts Educational Entertainment. King is a recipient of the Illinois Arts Council’s Artists Fellowship and Master Apprentice grant. He was acknowledged by the poetry center of Chicago with the Gwendolyn Brooks Hands on Stanzas award and honored with the Jewel Osco Hidden Jewel of the Neighborhood Award. He is a published author and recording artist and his newest series of stories for young readers is called “Firefly and Little Star”.

Waukegan Public Library honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Post date: Thursday, January 8, 2015 - 8:36pm

In 1994, Congress designated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a national “Day of Service” in honor of Dr. King’s dream that Americans from all walks of life can come together to strengthen our communities. On January 19 and 20, the Waukegan Public Library will take part in the initiative with a community service project for Vista Health System patients.

From 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., community members have the opportunity to create get well cards that will be distributed to pediatric patients of Vista Health System. All of the supplies will be provided by the library on the lower level.

The library will also show two films that carry messages of perseverance, community involvement, and self-confidence. On Monday, January 19 at 6 p.m., the Library will show “Selma, Lord, Selma”, a film based on true events that happened in March, 1965 when two African-American girls participate in a voting rights march that turns violent. “Akeelah and the Bee” will be shown on Tuesday, January 20 at 1 p.m. and tells the story of an 11-year-old girl who overcomes obstacles to participate in a national spelling bee. Free popcorn will be provided.

Expanding Learning Spaces at Waukegan Public Library: Renovation Project to Begin on January 10

Post date: Monday, December 29, 2014 - 5:18pm

Starting in January, the Waukegan Public Library will undergo a major transformation of its main floor to accommodate the changing and growing needs of the community. Ensuring that the environment of the library is focused on learning and discovery, the redesign includes six new classrooms and collaborative study spaces, engaging and educational exhibits, upgrades in technology, better seating and lighting, and a large media wall.

In an effort to reflect the changing role of the library from information warehouse to educational institution, the new spaces will further define the library as a Learning Center for the community. It will include functional, dynamic, innovative, and engaging spaces that will help community members on their individual paths to success. The redesign is another step in moving the library’s new vision forward and increasing literacy rates by 25% by the year 2020.

For the last 30 years, the Waukegan Public Library has maintained literacy programs for adults and families with the help of partner organizations like the Literacy Volunteers of Lake County, Waukegan Public School District 60, and outside funding sources. However, for the last few years, current library classroom spaces and collection materials are no longer adequate or able to meet the demands of a growing population of native and non-native speakers in need of free resources and services.

In the past, we had to have had to be very creative in finding learning spaces for groups. Our classrooms are full every night of the week and our classes have long lists of students waiting for an opening. With two new classrooms and four collaborative study spaces on the main floor, we will be able to serve more members of the community as they learn, grow and transform,” said Gale Graves, Education and Literacy Services Manager.

While the books won’t disappear, community members will notice a larger focus on teaching basic functional and cultural literacy, in essence, knowledge as fundamental as when to go to the doctor, how to read street signs, or even how to print a form from a website. “Libraries are not just about books, they are about reading, resources, and access to information,” said Richard Lee, Waukegan Public Library Executive Director. “At the library, we are committed to creating a community of readers from cradle to career. When our residents are successful, our city will be successful.”

The Waukegan Public Library continues to play a vital role in the lives of community members and it is hoped that the new main floor will reflect the increasing need for flexible, functional spaces that meet the needs of a changing population. The project is funded by state grants and general operating funds saved over the last few years. The library will be open normal hours during construction except for the week of January 10-18. The project is expected to be completed by June of 2015.