Altgeld’s New Library


Editor’s Note: The following article was written by a youth reporter who is a graduate of the Urban Youth International Journalism Program class at People for Community Recovery, a not-for-profit organization based in the Altgeld Gardens public housing development.

After fighting for 10 months, Altgeld Gardens finally got a library. There is a door separating Carver Elementary School and the Altgeld Library. It is the first public library to share a Chicago Public Schools building. The library is located right across the street from the Larry Hawkins Chicago International Charter School (CICS) and Carver Primary Elementary school. The library opened April 8, 2011; at this time, it is under-going renovation to install a central air system.

Residents’ Journal interviewed Shante Jackson, the children’s library associate, and Jackson said the library had to close on

The interior of the new library in the Altgeld Gardens community. Photo by Alisha Jacobs.

several of the hottest days of the summer. “We close based on the temperature outside. If it’s too hot, we use a fan or we shut the library down,” Jackson said. “The library is very important to the community. Altgeld needs it more now because there are more residents and schools in the community.”

The library has free wireless internet and 30 computer stations, 20 for children and 10 for adults. There were 25 residents in the library at the time of the RJ interview. Residents were at the computers, searching for books and checking out books. The library is a heavily utilized place in Altgeld.

Youth Reporter Alisha Jacobs interviews a library official. Photo by Quintana Woodridge.

In an interview, Cheryl Johnson, executive director of People for Community Recovery and one of those who led the fight for a new library, said she was at the grand opening for the library and there were a lot of people in attendance. Johnson has been to the library twice, once at the grand opening and the second time “for an exercise CD which they didn’t have, which left me disappointed. The library has a great impact and is heavily utilized by the kids and adults because of the web, but it should offer the same things that other libraries have. We would like a video section in our library and an air conditioning system like the people in the Lincoln Park community,” concluded Johnson.

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