Rockford Public Library

Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco

Some Rockford residents think it’s not too late to stop the Rockford Public Library from closing the books on two west side branches. 

 

A campaign to save the Rock River and Rockton Centre library branches from permanent closure is underway. Bill Rose, a Rockford alderman, said that closing the branches doesn’t solve the libraries long term financial problems. 

“We know COVID is gonna impact us but we can't be a top community when we're closing libraries,” Rose said.

 

Photo provided by CFNIL.

The cost of higher education seems to rise every year and it can be difficult to understand how to pursue financial aid. Jennifer Smith is the engagement director with the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois. She said there is a virtual community scholarship fair especially for graduating high school seniors who live in the region.

"It's a great opportunity to meet directly with local scholarship providers," she said, "and talk about the scholarships they offer."

Library Workers Say It's Not Too Late To Save Branch Locations

Nov 20, 2020
Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco

The Rockford Public Library workers put out a list of alternatives to layoffs and the closure of two library locations that serve the south and west sides of the city.

The Rock River and Rockton Centre library branches will close permanently by the end of the year and lay off eight employees. Janella Harper Herbig is president of the union representing the library workers Local 3350. She says there are a number of common sense solutions that would address the budget shortfall without laying off staff. 

Jesse Kuntz

Two northern Illinois poets Saturday were appointed to positions new to the city of Rockford. Jocelyn Kuntz  was awarded youth poet laureate and Christine Swanberg poet laureate, in an inaugural event held at the Rockford Public Library’s Nordlof Center.  

 

Swanberg is an award-winning poet who has more than 500 published works. She encouraged the other finalists.

Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco

In Rockford, some frontline public library workers are asking for more safety precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

 

Alice Mitchell, a children’s librarian at the Rockford Public Library’s East Branch, said that returning to work hasn’t been easy. “It's been immensely stressful," she said. "Everything is stressful. every single minute of the day.”    

 

Rockford Public Library Offers Curbside Pick-Up

May 7, 2020
Connie Kuntz

Attention bibliophiles! If you like e-books, but have missed holding and reading real books, the Rockford Public Library is providing curbside pick-up by appointment at all of their branches. Bridget Finn is the marketing director for RPL and she says customers can reserve items through the website or by phone.

"After that," Finn said, "the staff will pull the items -- if they're available -- sanitize them, call the customer, set an appointment for them to come pick the items up, and get them ready for retrieval."

Rockford is getting not just one, but two poets laureate -- an adult and a youth.

The adult poet laureate position will be a two-year position, and probably one year long for the youth. Rockford Area Arts Council (RAAC) Executive Director Mary McNamara Bernsten said the committee is still working that out. But, she said, people may start nominating poets next week.

Guy Stephens

An exhibition in Rockford closes this Saturday with a live musical performance by the artist. She'll interpret animated images she created.  It’s part of an effort by a new gallery space to promote art that goes beyond the paintbrush.

New Genres Art Space co-founders Jason Judd and Iga Duchalska usher their visitor into a large, high-ceiling room on an upper floor of the Rockford Public Library’s Nordlof Center in downtown Rockford. It’s one result of a partnership between the institutions.

Sarah Jesmer

 

 

Rockford is celebrating June as Pride Month for the first time ever this year. The city has held events all month like parties and art exhibitions, and more recently, a 'Drag Queen Story Hour' at the East Branch of the Rockford Public Library.

 

Saturday's event was attended by families and young kids while a crowd of protestors, supporters, and law enforcement gathered outside.

 

Pixabay

Chapters of the Human Library are popping up around the world as a way to challenge stereotypes and encourage active listening. The Northern Illinois Chapter will host an event Saturday at Rockford Public Library's East Branch. On this week's Friday Forum, we learn more about what makes this library unique.

Rockford Public Library

Between 30 and 40 people attended the Rockford Public Library’s 5th Community Envisioning Session held Wednesday at Rockford police Station District #1 to give input on a new main library. The library is looking to move to the next phase of the multi-year project.

Leonard Bernstein at 100

The Rockford arts community will celebrate musical icon Leonard Bernstein during the month of April.

The festival, "Leonard Bernstein at 100," is being led by the Rockford Symphony Orchestra. RSO Education and Community Engagement Director Margo Stedman said Bernstein’s many accomplishments as a composer, conductor and music educator are reason enough to celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

A book from the Rockford Public Library recently made its way back from across the Atlantic Ocean – more than 120 years later.

Bridget Finn is director of marketing and communications at Rockford Public Library. She says the sender is from England and inherited the book from her aunt.

Finn says the book that belonged to the library in 1893 is a bound collection of magazines from Great Britain in the 19th century. She says it was a reference book and most likely wasn’t even checked out from the Rockford Public Library to begin with.

Jenna Dooley

Utility rate payers, not taxpayers, will help cover the cost to build a new library in downtown Rockford.

A gas plant operated at the current site of Rockford’s main library in the 1800s. Due to a series of mergers over the years, it's now the responsibility of utility company ComEd to clean up contaminated soil underneath the building.

Five states currently have laws allowing terminally ill patients to take life-ending medicine.

Final Options Illinois is showing the movie “How To Die In Oregon” at the Rockford Public Library this weekend; it follows people’s experiences with aid-in-dying laws and their origins. 

Ed Gogol, president of Final Options Illinois, says this subject benefits from an open discussion.

Rockford Public Library

The Board of Trustees recently approved a three-year labor contract clearing up language that would open the door to Sunday hours. 

A previous contract required employees to be paid time-and-a-half on Sundays.  The board said this was a large financial burden that prevented branches from opening on that day.  This is despite several requests from the public.  

  The Rockford City Council approved a $325,000 plan to buy a temporary site for the city's  public library.  

The library’s current site at 215 N. Wyman Street sits on contaminated soil from a local coal-to-gas plant.  The necessary cleanup work by ComEd will require demolishing the building and constructing a new site.  

Library materials will move to 214 and 230 Church Street, formerly the site of the Winnebago County Resource Intervention Center, as well as the Comcast building.  

Rockford Man Stabbed In Public Library

Mar 10, 2015

A man was stabbed multiple times inside the downtown Rockford Public Library yesterday.

Patrons found the victim lying on the bathroom floor. The man was taken to a hospital in serious condition.

The suspect was described as a middle-aged white or Hispanic man who fled the scene in a pickup truck.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The Rockford Public Library’s governing board is weighing whether to accept a very large gift…a 30-thousand square foot gift. The board hosted a public open house Tuesday at the Sullivan Center in downtown Rockford.

Around Illinois – May 17

May 17, 2012

  • Next Sheley trial postponed to September
  • Illinois gets $150,000 of Skechers settlement
  • Cities don’t want to fund teacher pensions
  • Library begins offering e-readers
  • Restoring child-care funds advances
  • Cites gain in electricity savings
  • Schilling makes good use of perk he slammed

The Rockford Public Library’s board of trustees can expect to see something unusual at its meeting Monday night… a large crowd. That’s because two confidential reports by the library’s executive director have been leaked to the public.