Local News

La Grange Library receives $25,000 experiential learning grant

La Grange Library's Public Services Coordinator Laura Goldsborough demonstrates the newly acquired mobile kitchen, dubbed a Charlie Cart, made possible by a grant.

LA GRANGE – The La Grange Public Library has received a $25,000 experiential learning grant used for the purchase of a mobile kitchen unit, 11 sewing machines, 11 ukuleles and a Meeting OWL Pro, a 360-degree conferencing camera.

The new equipment will be used to create interactive cooking, sewing and music programs, and the OWL camera is available for use by library customers and staff for virtual/hybrid meetings and programs, a news release stated. The goal is to provide interactive experiences to help the community come together to discover new worlds, appreciate different points of view and learn by doing.

Funding for the grant was allocated by state Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago) on behalf of the state of Illinois. Ford previously has allocated grant money that helped fund the library’s digital studio and the play-based learning installations in Children’s Services.

The mobile kitchen unit, the Charlie Cart, includes a convection oven and induction cooktop, stainless steel sink with gray-water recovery, and storage cupboards for utensils, pots, pans and dishes. The mobile unit also included more than 170 pieces of cooking equipment; and additional cooking and baking equipment – like a stand mixer, blender and air fryer – were purchased with the grant.

Over the summer, the library offers a number of cooking programs for children, including johnnycakes, horchata de arroz and herb scones. There will be teen cooking programs on spiced Indian flatbread and strawberry almond milkshakes, and adults can learn how to bake apple and pecan pie from Chef Violeta Trujeque.

Also planned are ukulele programs, and one ukulele is available for checkout by La Grange cardholders.

The library offered several sewing classes in the spring, including drawstring bags, pillows and face masks. When the sewing machines are not being used in a program, they are available for customer use on the lower level. There is also a sewing machine available for checkout by La Grange Public Library cardholders.

“Library staff chose items that will raise the level of programming, services and materials in practical and fun ways,” La Grange Public Library Board of Trustees President Joyce Hagen-McIntosh stated in the release. “Additionally, the OWL camera is perfect in this time when libraries, schools, churches and other organizations want to hold in-person programs, while still providing access for those who can’t be present. We are grateful for Rep. Ford’s generosity and the positive impact it has on our community.”