2023 Year in Review Scroll down to begin

Everyone is welcome at Skokie Public Library and our staff are always here to help.

With 2024 in full swing, we're excited about what's to come. But before we get too far into it, let's take a few moments to revisit some of what made last year so special at Skokie Public Library.

In May we adopted a new strategic plan, affirming our mission, vision, and values, and setting our priorities for the next three years. We are focused on cultivating connection and belonging, providing services that resonate, and building a healthy organization. Look for more updates on our progress during the years ahead.

New Connections

Nancy shares a craft activity with a young patron during a community event

We made so many new friends this year! People gathered with the bookmobile for multilingual songs, stories, and crafts during one of our parties in the parks. Others stopped by the book bike to pick up a free book. Families that include children and teens with disabilities enjoyed early entry to the Kids Room. Many new friends visited our booths at community events like the Festival of Cultures and farmers markets. Whether it's your first visit with us or your thousandth, we're always glad to meet you wherever you are.

Katie and Caitlin record an episode of the library's podcast

Our new monthly podcast, Your Family, Your Library launched this year. Our Youth Services staff and special expert guests share their own personal experiences as parents and recommend library resources for caregivers looking for support. 

A teen patron makes a henna design on their hand

We celebrated many of the languages, cultural traditions, and identities that make our community so special. Families enjoyed many food-focused events this year, including workshops on making kosher challah, matzah ball soup, Chinese dumplings, Oaxacan cuisine, Cambodian spring rolls, and an Arab cooking school featuring a local cookbook author. Our Henna Party for Teens brought in lots of teens, kids, and parents to celebrate Eid-al-Fitr. We also offered new sewing classes in Urdu with the help of some regular patrons of the Studio.

Our Core Values

Booking with a Buddy participants read together in the Kids Room

As libraries continue to make headlines across the country, we took time to reaffirm our commitment to intellectual freedom, preservation, and education and lifelong learning. During Banned Books Week, October 1-7, we hosted pop-up conversations with the community about our right to read. Our advisory team made thousands of personalized book recommendations and published new lists and Beginner's Guides to various genres on our website.

Patrons play a game of chess in the library

We continued to adapt our events and services to support the needs in our community, including focusing on events that assist with building career skills. We offered technology classes, one-on-one help during drop-in hours, career assistance, and business counseling through collaboration with community partners.

Exercise classes specifically designed for older adults help improve strength, balance, and coordination

Throughout the year, we improved our website to make it easier to find information. Services for families are easier to locate. Resources like our database of digitized historical newspapers that were only available on microfilm before are now easier to access. And it is now easy to reserve free or discounted tickets to museums and attractions across Illinois.

An exhibit in the Radmacher Gallery

Throughout the year we offered special exhibits in a variety of artistic media. We also invited the community to engage with the history and local significance of some of our permanent art collection, including Swans and View from McCormick. We also marked the 40th year of our Young Steinway concert series.

The embroidery machine in the Studio

Our learning spaces were featured in the October "Let's Make It" issue of the national science magazine for children, Click, from the Cricket family of publications.

Summer Reading

Patrons of all ages were invited to participate

Last summer we had a totally radical time reading, sharing, doing awesome activities, and celebrating our library and community all season long. More than 1,500 people participated and kids earned close to 1,000 free books to keep. It's always a nostalgic time for adult patrons, and an exciting new experience for children.

One of the completed sticker murals

Our community murals were a big hit all summer. Patrons gathered to place more than 30,000 stickers in a collaborative effort that was fun to watch grow during June and July. The two finished pieces were displayed on the second floor of the library in the fall.

Laura and Holly lead a summer storytime at a local childcare center

More than 400 children attending childcare centers in Skokie participated in a modified version of summer reading. Each child received a new book to keep during special events attended by library staff dressed as Mommy, Daddy, and Baby Shark. Library teams also presented more than 50 book talks at local elementary, middle, and high schools to promote our summer reading lists for each grade.

Thank You!

Skokie Public Library staff and volunteers

Board of Trustees

  • Gene Griffin, President
  • Shabnam Mahmood, Vice President
  • Mary Pietrucha, Secretary
  • Mira Barbir
  • Amanda Lichtenstein
  • Michelle Julaton Mallari
  • Ella Whitehead

Management Team

  • Executive Director, Richard Kong
  • Deputy Director, Laura McGrath
  • Director of Access Services, Annabelle Mortensen
  • Director of Community Engagement, Nancy Kim Phillips
  • Director of Organizational Development, Leah White
  • Director of Public Services, Amy Koester
  • Building Services Manager, Vinny Tangherlini
  • Communications and Multimedia Engagement Manager, Jane Hanna
  • IT Manager, Mark Kadzie
  • Learning Experiences Manager, Amy Holcomb
  • Patron Engagement Manager, Lynnanne Pearson
  • Safety Manager, Thalma Brooms
  • Teen Services Manager, Laurel Dooley
  • Youth Services Manager, Shelley Sutherland