Open Up! Group Pushing for Expanded Chicago Public Library Hours

A new report from the city inspector general says Chicago Public Library staffing isn’t meeting community demand.

In the wake of the report, the library commissioner agreed to a system-wide analysis of library staff workloads.

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And one community group is also sounding the alarm, saying libraries need to be open longer, after their hours were cut years ago during a budget crunch.

“I was delighted that finally someone in government is addressing this issue and bringing it to attention,” said Kang Chiu of the Chicago Coalition of Library Friends. “Our group, (over) the past several years, has tried to speak at the city council budget hearing, and more or less it has fallen on deaf ears.”

Chiu says his group did an online survey of library users last year and found respondents were hungry for expanded hours.

“When I was let go from my job three years ago, the Rogers Park library saved me!” wrote one user, according to a Coalition news release.

“We have a lot of students who come in after school to do their homework,” Chiu said. “Our branch library is heavily used by people who don’t have access to the internet, but the library is able to provide access to the internet. … The library serves a multitude of community functions.”

Chiu joins Chicago Tonight for a conversation.

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