EVA challenge: Support Chicago's branch libraries

By Gladys Alcazar-Anselmo and Catherine Garypie

How do local libraries offer so much free programming? The East Village Association wanted to expand its support for the West Town Branch library, 1625 W. Chicago Ave. Our research discovered a very important community partner, the Chicago Public Library Foundation.

It's a not-for-profit fundraising partner to the Chicago Public Library. The foundation develops partnerships throughout Chicago and beyond. Its efforts support the library’s programs, technology and collections.

Through generous private donations, the foundation connects library users to their community and the world, ensuring all Chicagoans have the freedom to read, learn and discover.

One Book, One Chicago, the Summer Learning Challenge and the Teacher in the Library program are 100 percent funded by donors to the library foundation. The library’s efforts to nurture learning, support economic advancement and strengthen communities are at the heart of the Chicago Public Library Foundation's mission.

EVA’s first library fundraiser will fund future programming at the West Town Branch library. “Literary Charades Game Night” is scheduled for Sept. 25 from 6 to 9pm at Roots Handmade Pizza, 1924 W. Chicago Ave. Teams of four will "act out" book titles without speaking, while other members of their team try to guess the book title. The objective is for teams to guess the titles as quickly as possible.

The evening ends as the final four teams, with the fastest completion times, compete for the crown of 2014 West Town Champions. The final four team winners will receive prizes from local businesses and sponsors, and win the bragging rights for the next year.

EVA hopes his collaboration can inspire other groups throughout Chicago to support the important work being done at every local library throughout Chicago. Through this event, EVA hopes to raise funds that supports this year’s programming goals, such as expansion of a children’s chess program or unique hands-on workshops.

Last year’s session on spice production and use was one such program, led by Steven Tobiason, owner of Epic Spices. Other programs could include documentary film screenings and book readings with local authors, historians and documentarians, as well as hiring children’s musicians to perform before local young children, their teachers and parents.

The West Town Branch Library, on the ground floor of the historic Goldblatt's building, officially opened on Sept. 11, 2010. It's an integral part of East Village and the West Town community.

It occupies 13,300 square feet of the building in a beautiful, loft-style space with more than 50 computers for adults, teens and children.  The library also has a group study room, and children's and adult reading areas that provide a comfortable, contemplative space overlooking busy and bustling Chicago Avenue.

The collection reflects the diverse and multicultural population, with books in Polish, Ukrainian and Spanish. The West Town Branch offers monthly book discussions for adults and tweens, and conducts a regular toddler story time for ages 18 to 36 months and a lap-sit story time for children 6 to 18 months.

This branch circulates more than 9,000 materials every month and serves an average of 2,500 patrons each week in person. Annually, direct services totaled nearly 1,800 early childhood, school-age and teen participants, and the programs continue to grow.

Visit City Chickens!

This is the 5th year of the Windy City Coop Tour, a free, self-guided event featuring 29 coops in the backyards of Chicago and some suburban locales. The tour runs this Saturday and Sunday, September 20 and 21, but on Saturday only, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., you can visit chickens in our own ‘hood, at the Farmessori at 1110 N Wood Street.  

The Farmessori flock just added three new members: a Buff Orpington, a Silver Laced Wyandotte, and an Exchequer Leghorn; in addition to the fabulous Polish Crested hens. If you’re not a chicken enthusiast, and haven’t visited the Farmessori, it’s worth the trip to see the garden. Farmer Joe Phillips and students and families from the Near North Montessori School will be on hand to welcome you.

The Tour Map and details about all 29 Host sites are on the Chicagoland Chicken Enthusiasts’ website (www.chicagochickens.org) and its Windy City Coop Tour page.  It’s an opportunity to see more than fowl: First-time Host Eric Staswick’s urban farm/yard in Albany Park is home to chickens, ducks, dairy goats, and assorted vegetables and fruits. He says, “We keep chickens because we believe it’s important to understand the food cycle and where our food comes from. We want our kids to understand that food is grown, not manufactured.”

Angelic Organics Learning Center and the Chicagoland Chicken Enthusiasts organize the Tour so visitors can browse and learn from practical examples. According to Anika Byrley, whose family keeps chickens in Logan Square, “We love the Tour and look forward to hosting because we enjoy sharing with others how enjoyable, easy, and rewarding keeping backyard chickens can be.” Matt Binns and Margaret Frisbie in the Hermosa neighborhood. “We originally got our chickens because we thought it was good for the planet and a kinder way to get eggs. We found that not only are the eggs wonderful and wholesome, but the chickens are hilarious and fun, and not much effort at all.”

I can attest to that! Visiting the chickens never fails to put a smile on my face. The Farmessori chickens are cared for by a crew of volunteers, of which I am one. It's a great example of the "it takes a village" concept. Check it out!  

Quotes from the press release published on the web as 2014 Windy City Coop Tour PR.

Eckhart Park Walk for Fun

Friends of Eckhart Park plans its annual neighborhood Walk for Fun at 10am Sept. 20 in the park at 1330 W. Chicago Ave. Organizers are celebrating the park's new playground renovation and raising funds for an improved fitness center.

The walk will leave Eckhart Park at 10 and is stroller- and pet-friendly. Kids 12 years and younger can participate in the walk and a 100-yard dash afterward. Register your child on the day of the race for $5. Kids are encouraged to bring bikes and scooters.

Registration ($50 family, $30 adult, $5 kids) will include a T-shirt and coupons to local businesses. Family Registration includes two adults and their kids. Dash registration includes a medal, and fun.

Literary charades game night to benefit West Town library

By Gladys Alcazar-Anselmo

Gather your team now for the East Village Association's second library fundraiser, a Sept. 25 charades competition. Teams of four will “act out” book titles without speaking, while other members of their team try quickly to guess the title.

“West Town Literary Charades Madness” runs from 6 to 9pm at Roots Handmade Pizza, 1924 W. Chicago Ave. The final four teams, with the fastest completion times, compete for the crown of 2014 West Town Champions.

Winners will receive prizes from local businesses and sponsors, plus bragging rights for the year. Proceeds from this evening’s event will be directed to future programming at the West Town Branch Library.

Event proceeds help library staff offer free programming that would not be possible without local fundraising efforts.

This year’s programming goals includes expansion of a children’s chess program that teaches beginners and pairs intermediate and expert players to challenge one another. The branch plans more hands-on events like last year’s spice workshop by Steven Tobiason, owner of Epic Spices; documentary film screenings; book readings with local authors, historians and documentarians; and music performances for young children, teachers and parents.

The West Town Branch offers monthly book discussions for adults and tweens, and conducts a regular toddler story time for ages 18 to 36 months and a lap-sit story time for children 6 to 18 months.

On the ground floor of the historic Goldblatt's building at 1625 W. Chicago Ave., the library opened Sept. 11, 2010 and is an integral part of East Village and the West Town community. It occupies 13,300 square feet of the building in a beautiful, loft-style space that houses more than 50 computers for adults, teens and children, and a group study room.

Children's and adult reading areas provide a comfortable, contemplative space overlooking busy and bustling Chicago Avenue. Their collection reflects the diverse and multi-cultural population with books in Spanish, Polish and Ukrainian.

Literary Charades

This branch circulates more than 9,000 materials every month and serves an average of 2,500 patrons each week in person. Direct services to early childhood, school-age and teen children total nearly 1,800 participants a year and the programs continues to grow.

For more information on the event, write evafundraiser@gmail.com. Register a team, purchase tickets or make a donation here.

Website tracks Chicago building demolitions, teardowns

A page lists building permits issued in and near East Village.

East Village Association board minutes for Aug. 11, 2014, submitted by Catherine Garypie

CONSTRUCTION DATABASE

Property purchases, architect discussions, permit applications: All happen very fast ... faster than neighborhood associations can keep up.

Steven Vance, a programmer and Streetblog Chicago blogger, developed a database of construction activity at licensedchicagocontractors.com. Vance gave a presentation with Daniel Ronan, program coordinator at the National Public Housing Museum, and Ryan Lakes, an architect at Solomon Cordwell Buenz.

The database includes building violations and permits. The idea is to give more power to residents. The site's adding Special Service Area boundaries, and may track Tax Increment Financing dollars spent.

EVA boundaries have been added to the database. A subscription service provides weekly e-mails and allows tracking of an individual company (developer, owner, expediter, etc.)

Update: The site is now chicagocityscape.com. Discussion at this meeting led to a new feature: When you click on a place like the East Village page, you'll see a small link under the heading that says, "List all addresses and historic resources." This shows every address in the boundary, based on Cook County property tax billing information, and whether or not it's orange or red rated.