GSLIS doctoral student Sarah T. Roberts has spent the first few weeks of this record-breaking July heat organizing a campaign to help a small community library on the South Side of Chicago.
The William Leonard Public Library in Robbins provides essential services to a financially disadvantaged community but has recently fallen on hard times due to a declining tax base in the community. Things became worse when the library's air conditioning unit was dismantled and stolen from the roof of the building in the middle of a record-setting heat wave, leaving the library—and the patrons who use it—without air conditioning.
Reports of the vandalism appeared in the Chicago-area news, prompting Roberts to launch a campaign on Indiegogo, an online fundraising site, to raise the funds needed to replace the air conditioning unit. Also inspired to help were two local companies who announced their plans to donate the new air conditioning system to the Library.
Now that the Library will be receiving a new air conditioning system, funds raised by Roberts and other supporters on Indiegogo will be donated to the Library to assist with other immediate needs.
“Many of us can think back to a hot summer day relieved by the cool of the local public library, experiencing the fun of kids programming or working toward a goal in a summer reading challenge,” says Roberts. “Those of you who are associated with librarianship know the importance of a library as a community center and a lifeline—a literacy and job center, a community information center, a center of learning and activity for kids and young adults, a gathering place for seniors.”
You can help Roberts and the Library by donating to the cause and sharing this story with colleagues, friends, and family. To make a donation by the July 29 deadline, please visit the Indiegogo site.