The Skokie Public Library can trace its roots all the way back to 1929 when the Cosmos Club decided to create a public library. It moved to its current location at 5215 Oakton St. in 1959.
The library opened its doors as a one floor, 33,000 square foot building. It was designed by Gertrude Kerbis, James Hammond, and Walter Netsch of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. The library building is viewed as a great example of modern architecture in the mid-century modern style. It uses clean lines and subdued colors, with the design philosophy that the people and collections would bring color to the building. The library is equipped with designer furniture, including chairs and tables designed by Mies Van de Rohe and Hans Wegner that are still used in the building. The green and opaque marble tables are from the original opening in 1959, as are the Thai silk curtains in the Board Room. Knoll, Inc. provided much of the designer furniture, including the Barcelona chairs.
The library doubled its square footage in 1972 with second floor addition. Another 33,000 sq ft was added in the 2001-2003 renovation that added the third floor, green roof, and west side expansion plus the west parking lot.
Services & Resources
There is free WiFi available throughout most of the building, a quiet study room, and reservable study rooms for both adults and kids. Events and programs are offered for people of all ages, including computer/technology classes, ESL resources, story times for children, performances and cultural events, etc. Librarians are very knowledgeable, helpful, and always ready to help you find the best books and resources for adults, children, and your reference questions. In addition, the bookmobile visits over 18 locations throughout Skokie each week, bringing the library to you. The library's collection includes hundreds of thousands of fiction and non-fiction books, a strong collection of books in various world languages, e-books, periodicals, movies (blu-ray & dvd), music, audiobooks, and much more!
The BOOMbox is an experimental learning space located on the 1st floor. The theme of the room changes every few months, but it's always focused on something STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts Math). The Digital Media Labs offer equipment, computers, and software for music, video, and website production and editing. There is also a regular class taught to patrons in the Digital Media Lab on a monthly basis called "Digitize All the Things" that focuses on teaching how to transform analog materials such as VHS and cassette tapes, photos and slides, and vinyl records into digital files that can be stored and viewed on a computer.
The Youth Lab is a computer lab offered to younger patrons aged between 8 and 14 years-old. This space has 12 computers for kids to play games with each other or work on homework. There is also a Digital Media Lab with two iMac computers, a green screen, and a sound booth for kids to work on and create a variety of digital media projects.
I love Skokie library and I think when I retire the library will be a place I may spend quite a bit of time as I love to read. Also this library has a lot of resources as far as books and other materials but above all that I love the personal help you can get here for anything you need with technology. I learned a lot from here my basics on computer skills, I phone use etc. You could even get one on one help if you wish on certain technological aspects. I wish I had more time to make use of this library resources.
I am quite happy to attend free computer classes being conducted by friendly tutors.
For more information on volunteer opportunities at Skokie Public Library, please visit the Volunteering page on the library website.