By Kristin Boza
Tamela Chambers is the new branch manager for Chicago Public Library’s Beverly Branch, 1962 W. 95th St. Chambers began her new position in April, and previously served as the Children’s Department Head at Woodson Regional Library, and as a Chicago Public Schools Children’s Library Associate, Librarian, and Teacher Librarian. She has been providing programs and services to Chicago families for 20 years.
At the Beverly Branch, Chambers is responsible for a lot of initiatives, both inside and outside of the library. In addition to overseeing the organization and quality of the library’s collection, she also gathers information from the community to develop the resources, services, and programs that best fit for local needs.
Chambers represents the library at community meetings and serves as a liaison to local schools. She was also instrumental in organizing the Beverly Branch when it opened at its current location back in 2009.
“I love chatting about books and giving the right book to the right reader at the right time,” Chambers said. She is a native South Sider and grew up in the Fernwood neighborhood. “Beverly/Morgan Park has been such a big part in my upbringing. When I was a kid, I loved to ride up and down the hill at 103rd and Longwood, I frequented the Beverly art supply store on Western, and my family’s favorite Friday night dinner was Chuck’s pizza. I’m really excited to be working here in this community.”
Chambers recommends all of the books on the Chicago Public Library “best of the best” recommended reading list, found at ChiPubLib.org.
Some of her personal favorites for kids include any graphic novels, especially “New Kid” by Jerry Craft, the picture book “I Sang You Down from the Stars” by Tasha Spillet-Sumner, “Amari and the Night Brothers” by B.B. Alston, and “Ms. Marvel” by G. Willow Wilson.
For adults, Chambers recommends “Caste, the Origins of our Discontent” by Isabel Wilkerson, “Finna” by native Chicagoan Nate Marshall, and “The Stationery Shop” by Marjan Kamali.
It’s a busy time for the Beverly Branch Library as many programs and services transition from Zoom to in-person.
“I’m looking forward to tentatively — depending on Centers for Disease Control and Chicago Department of Public Health guidance — adding more in-person programming.”
Currently, all story time and after school in-person activities are still pending, but Chambers has the idea to develop some maker classes for kids to have a hands-on experience.
“I’m looking forward to getting to know the kids and see what their interests are so I can be more intentional with our programming,” Chambers said. “We are considering having Zoom, in-person, and hybrid classes, all of which we’ve heard patrons are wanting.”
Chambers wants to hear from the community: What do you want the Beverly Branch Library to offer? Call 312-747-9673 or email email@example.com to share your opinion.