West Town Library Branch Manager moving to Harold Washington


Anne Miskewitch leafs through a book

"I adore branches, it is going to be hard to go away," said Chicago Public Library's (CPL) West Town Library Branch Manger Anne Miskewitch. "But I am just an email away." Her last day in the library in the former Goldblatt's Department Store building, 1625 W. Chicago Ave., will be Wed., July 24.    

Having started as a library page-shelver in CPL 20 years ago, Miskewitch is going back to the Harold Washington Library (HWL), 400 S. State St., for the second time. 

From the HWL Literature and Language Department she went to Brighton Park for a year, following completion of her masters degree in 2005. She returned to HWL in Literature and Language before applying and then settling into her West Town position in March 2011. In the beginning of August, she will return to HWL as the Division Chief of Social Science and History. 


While someone else will be handling this desk, Anne says, "I'm just an email away!"

"As a library worker, you want to respect people when they come into this space," Miskewitch said. "Some people really just want to come in and go out and you want to respect  their privacy. But that is not true in this community. People want to engage…they want to say hello...they want to make relationships. That is awesome! We are taken into the personal lives of our patrons. I feel honored that people want to share these stories. 

"I have experienced the trifecta here with a staff, location and community. The staff is wonderful. The location is like having the window to the world…just look at this. [She points toward the huge windows looking out on Chicago Ave.] And, our patrons are amazing." 


Talking about the photos she said that she has a favorite

Walking into another room she points at a bulletin board that displays an ever-increasing number of neighborhood photos from various periods in time. An example of the staff and community working together, she explains that they are encouraging people to share photos that help connect the multiple generations that live and have lived in the community. 

Though her current position continues through the end of the month, Miskewitch is taking vacation time. She, her husband and two children, under the age of three, are packing-up and moving to the Portage Park community. "I've lived here for a long time, so leaving the West Town library and my home in this community at the same time is a bet overwhelming," she said with a slight dazed look in her eye. "But, I'll always be invested in this place and remember, I'm just an email away!" 


This is her favorite photo. The community as part of the City.

Though it has not be determined who will be the new Branch Manager, the process is for an interim manager to be assigned soon. Then if someone is not transferred in, the position will be opened up for bid. 

Designated a Chicago landmark building in 1998, the library space was opened in September 2010 in the building designed by architect Alfred S. Alshuler. Built between 1921 and 1928, it is a City of Chicago building which houses offices and meeting space.



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