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Park Ridge residents rediscover the Library as adults

August 21, 2023 01:25 PM

TrishaPhoto credit: Diana Colleran Photography

As a child, Patricia vividly recalls visiting her local Chicago Public Library branch with a summer camp group. “I must have been about six years old,” she said. “Armed with probably the first little plastic card I ever had, I remember the beep sounds of the scanner as the librarian checked out my books.” As an adult, living in the Chicago Loop after law school, Patricia, like a lot of young professionals, was pressed for time and bought a lot of the books she read for fun.

“Sometime in the few years between finishing law school and buying a house, I seemed to have forgotten how libraries work,” she said. “I had been used to a campus library and when classes ended, I didn’t take advantage of any local libraries. It was probably a mix of convenience -- everything seems to take longer to get done in the city and the few books I read, I just ordered online -- and time. I had just started working as an attorney and needed to prove myself at the firm. I confess I did very little reading for pleasure during that time.”

In the few years since she and her husband moved to Park Ridge, things have changed.

“Establishing ourselves again in a new place (one we hope to live in for a while) meant getting a library card. It was on my “moving and settling in” list. I had greatly missed reading for pleasure,” Patricia says. “I’m still mostly reading fiction for pleasure. As a lawyer, I read non-fiction all day, every day. I have logged quite a few hours with the audiobooks on Libby and Axis 360 — I listen a lot when cooking or gardening.”



Evan remembers using his library in his hometown of Northfield to do research for school reports. “Reference and the periodicals section were where I would spend the most time,” he said. “I think I’ve always known the library was there when I needed it, but only after I had kids did I start using library services much more often.”

Now a father of two whose wife and children are also avid library users, Evan says he not only brings his children here, but he uses several areas of the Library himself. “My wife and I will stop in when we’re out on a walk,” he said. “We bring the kids in for any number of reasons – piano sheet music, looking for a new series they can get into, recipe ideas, sometimes it’s nice just to wander.” Evan finds it also serves his needs when he’s here on his own. “The wi-fi is super fast, and I like using the study rooms for a change of pace during the day. The staff are all so pleasant and helpful, and the Reader Services staff gives great recommendations.” He added that he and his family also enjoy the month Library Pub Trivia.


Macy is a recent Maine South High School graduate and avid reader. “When I was a kid, I remember running home from school and walking to the children section of the library and sitting in the chairs and just reading until it was time to go home!”

In high school, she had a lot of required reading to do in addition to her other schoolwork that made it difficult to fit in reading for entertainment. “I felt like I either didn’t have enough time or had too much work. I felt like reading for fun was less appealing when I would have required chapters or books to read,” she said.

Macy rediscovered the Library when she graduated and says she enjoys having more free time. “I was constantly reading and it was a lot easier and more cost effective to go to the library to get my books.” She added that she has discovered new features in the Library as well, now that she has more time to explore. “I forgot about all of the amazing things that the library offers, from crafts, events, classes and book [discussions]. I’m happy to have rediscovered some of the things that the library offers!”

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