new Back of the Yards high school, equipped with a full-service, community
library celebrated its grand opening Thursday.
At the ribbon
cutting ceremony, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he intends to bring the new
facility-sharing model to other parts of the city as a means to help cut
costs for both the city and the school district.
in the Back of the Yards, we’re embarking on not only a first, but on
what will become copied and mimicked all across the city: putting
neighborhood libraries in our schools because they serve the same
community. They serve the same purpose.”
The mayor, however, did
not provide specifics about this future library-in-a-school plan and
what it could mean for existing libraries.
Library Commissioner Brian Bannon said the move is "not about decreasing library service and reducing."
not looking at closing libraries," he said, reported the Chicago
Sun-Times. "It’s about reducing storefront and leased space. We had lost
that old storefront library [in Back of the Yards]. If that opportunity
comes up again where we could replace leased facilities, we’ll explore
The Back of the Yards community library was destroyed in a flood two years ago. The new school and library will have independent entrances, and the building, at 2111 W. 47th St., will be open six days a week.
library will offer neighborhood children access to early literacy
programs, according to the mayor's office, and Chicago Public Schools
students will have the opportunity to mentor younger children and gain
community service hours within their school building.