Chicago Public Library Enlists The Obamas and Oprah Winfrey to Read to Children ‘Live from the Library’

Education shall continue in the times of this deadly coronavirus pandemic! Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the Chicago Public Library (CPL), and the CPL Foundation have partnered to bring “Live from the Library” to the children of Chicago.

The online reading program takes place every weekday at 10:00 A.M. CST on CPL’s Facebook and Instagram pages. Every week, CPL enlists select librarians from the institution’s 81 branches, along with some notable Chicago public figures, to bring the communities together through the love of storytelling.

“Live from the Library represents a critical resource for children and families in our communities, and I’m grateful to the librarians and notable Chicagoans for promoting literacy and putting smiles on our children’s faces,” said Mayor Lightfoot in a written statement.

The “Live from the Library” was launched by the CPL in response to the COVID-19 epidemic that has closed all of its library branches for the first time in over 150 years. The institution still aims to provide equal access to information, ideas, and knowledge to children around the world through its virtual reading programs, learning courses, e-books, and other online resources.

The virtual program features many of Chicago’s most beloved public figures, including President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, who just recently read The Word Collector by Peter Reynolds on Thursday, May 14. Television titan Oprah Winfrey is making her appearance on Monday, May 18. The program also taps into many of Chicago’s cultural institutions like The Second City and Steppenwolf Theatre Company, as well as some of the city’s sports franchises like the Cubs and the Blackhawks.

“Public libraries are essential institutions, and that’s why we’re bringing a new branch of the Chicago Public Library to the Obama Presidential Center on the South Side. When it opens, it will give families one more chance to explore their interests, learn, and engage with their communities. And we’re excited for you to visit one day!” said President Obama during the Live from the Library reading.

“I remember my first trip to the library and how important I felt,” shared Mrs. Obama, also during the Live from the Library reading. “It was around age 4. My library card was a key that unlocked a world of knowledge and experiences,” said Mrs. Obama.

“Live from the Library” was launched with a reading by CPL Commissioner Andrea Telli; other notable Chicagoans like former Chicago Bear Israel Idonije, actress Jane Lynch, and Mayor Lightfoot have participated since.

“As librarians, we know that reading books with children is the best way to encourage a lifelong love of books. This program allows us to continue this love, even when the buildings are closed,” said Commissioner Telli.