Let’s All Take a Closer Look at Chicago Public Libraries!

On Thursday, October 24th, Niagara had the pleasure of hosting Chicago Public Library (CPL) Commissioner Brian Bannon. We discussed the work of the Chicago Public Library system, the role of libraries in community development, as well as how CPL contributes to the growth and competitiveness of the city. Mr. Bannon also expressed his interest in the Niagara Foundation, as he believes that our missions have considerable overlap.

The roundtable format of the Chicago Global Family event made it easy for Mr. Bannon to narrate his work as an engaging storyteller. Guests learned how his professional growth has been both rich and dynamic, working with respected institutions like the Seattle Public Library, the San Francisco Public Library, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In regards to the latter, he remains one of the 12 international advisors for the Gates Foundation Library programs and has participated with multiple library programs across the globe.

According to Mr. Bannon’s presentation, last year approximately 1.4 million people visited a CPL branch. This number is anticipated to increase due to the estimation that ¾ of the global population will be living in cities by 2050. In Chicago, over 98,000 people were tutored by CyberNavigators (who offer lessons in computer basics, resume writing, word processing, internet research, and more), 82,000 homework sessions took place, and 2.8 million computer sessions were supported in the past year. Niagara staff, members, and guests, were aware CPL was having a profound impact…but we were all pleasantly surprised by this data!

The discussion with Brian Bannon was inspiring to all present. The work of the CPL should not be underestimated; it has changed the face of our city and has great potential to do even more. Niagara is honored to have had the opportunity to host Brian Bannon. We invite you to visit your neighborhood library – you will surely be pleasantly surprised!

Stay tuned for programs that will exhibit a Niagara – CPL collaboration, as we explore a mutually-beneficial partnership for new programming initiatives.


Chicago Global Family events allow for a more intimate discussion with local and global leaders!

For more information, visit www.chipublib.org.

The views and opinions expressed on The Falls are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Niagara Foundation, its staff, other authors, members, partners, or sponsors.