News & Events - Press Releases

2. Chicago Public Library

Press Contact: Nina Foster
(202) 414-0791;

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Left to right: Chris Force, Brian Bannon, Mrs. Obama.

Left to right: Chris Force, Brian Bannon, Mrs. Obama. Click image for a larger view.

Chicago Public Library continues to expand its services for patrons of all ages in innovative ways. Its new Maker Lab allows the public free, hands-on experience with 3D design software, 3D printers, and other 21st century tools. The library also expanded its YOUmedia digital learning opportunities for teens, and revamped the 2013 Summer Learning Challenge, which offered kids more ways to participate in creative learning activities and saw a  record 71,000 children participate. Patrons have access to both physical and digital resources at all 80 locations and, as Alarm Press editor in chief and founder Chris Force found, access to valuable librarian knowledge and expertise.

When building his business, Chris learned about the magazine industry through Chicago Public Library resources and used the library as his business incubator, booking meeting rooms and using the free databases to source leads.  “The staff at Chicago Public Library is fantastic. Along with being knowledgeable, they’re very supportive—and sometimes as a small business owner all you need is anyone, even your local librarian, to give you some encouragement. Chicago is a great city for that, and the CPL is great resource for any small business owner.” Force’s belief in the value of the library extends to his staff – he insists that all Alarm Press employees obtain a Chicago Public Library card when they are hired. Watch video of Chris's story on YouTube. Read transcript (PDF, 51KB)

Chicago Public Library Commissioner Brian Bannon will to be traveling to Washington, D.C., to accept the National Medal. He states, “We are dedicated to serving as Chicago’s hub for free access to information, inspiration and the ideas of the day, and want to thank IMLS for this national recognition of the work we are doing.” Chris Force will travel to Washington with Bannon and share the impact the Chicago Public Library has had on his life as a small business owner during the May 8 celebration.

Praise for Chicago Public Library :

“I applaud the Chicago Public Library and its staff on winning such a prestigious, well-deserved award. For years the Chicago Public Library has served as a cornerstone of its community,” Durbin said.  “The library staff demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to learning.  Their work has encouraged both children and adults to pick up a book and begin a lifelong love of reading. Congratulations to everyone who has made this such a remarkable place.” – U.S. Senator Richard Durbin (IL)

“The Chicago Public Library is one of our city's great public treasures - a place where every resident is welcomed.  Our public library, which literally rose from the ashes of the Great Chicago Fire, empowers everyone who comes though (sic) its doors with access to knowledge, culture, news and internet technology all guided by an incredible team of dedicated librarians.  Congratulations to the Library and entire staff on the receipt of this prestigious award." – U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis (IL)

“Strong public libraries are critical for building successful communities.  It is fitting that the greatest city in the world has one of the greatest library systems in the world.  Congratulations on your much-deserved honor and thanks for your efforts to make sure all people have access to the world of knowledge.” – U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL)

“A hearty congratulations to the Chicago Public Library for receiving the National Medal for Museum and Library Service,” said Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL-09). “Our public libraries are one of the greatest treasures we have in communities across our city. I am very proud that Chicago is being honored as one of the very best in the nation.” – U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL)


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