The library’s Social Services and Public Safety team ensures safety in the library and refers people to resources for housing, employment, health care, immigration, domestic violence, and more.
COVID-19 testing sites near Oak Park
Here is a list of COVID-19 testing sites located within five miles of Oak Park. This is not a comprehensive list; locations are continuously being added as information is provided. Some locations have asked not to be named. Before you go, please make sure you contact a testing site’s hotline to first receive a consultation from a medical professional. Find more Illinois testing sites »
Oak Park Mutual Aid
Oak Park Mutual Aid is a coalition of neighbors dedicated to directly caring for one another and those around us in greatest need through dynamic economic and social support during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. Examples of mutual aid requests made and fulfilled by this group are financial assistance, wellness checks, tutoring, referrals, and pick up/drop off of groceries, meals, prescriptions, and other essential items.
- To volunteer at a level of your choice, please join the Oak Park Mutual Aid Volunteers Facebook Group and/or fill out this form »
- To make a request for assistance, please fill out a form, available in English and Spanish »
More local COVID-19 crisis resources
- Oak Park’s social services resource guide »
- Resources especially for teens, tweens & their families »
- From Oak Park and River Forest High School: Huskie Tips for coping with COVID-19 »
- Teens invited to share their voice on managing stress and anxiety, creating new app »
- Unemployment benefits: Illinois Department of Employment Security »
- Food support: Beyond Hunger »
- Volunteer: Oak Park Homelessness Coalition’s COVID-19 Response Team »
- Internet access: Learn more from Comcast & see if you qualify »
Virtual mental health assessments with Rush University Medical Center
Please note: In-person appointments at the Main Library are currently on hold.
By appointment, children and adults can receive free mental health assessments conducted by Rush University Medical Center psychologists. Please email Director Robert Simmons at RobertS@oppl.org to schedule a virtual mental health assessment via telehealth and virtual platforms.
Finding shelter, housing
Because the COVID-19 outbreak is a public health and economic crisis, the Flexible Rental Assistance Program (FRAP) is available to those who require financial support to maintain or secure stable housing. This program, which is conducted through Housing Forward, provides individuals and families who are at risk or experiencing homelessness with emergency financial assistance that is aimed towards preventing homelessness or aiding those that are in between stable housing. To stay up to date on news, go to www.housingforward.org/covid-19-updates
Contact Suburban Cook Call Center at 877.426.6515 to be pre-screened over the phone to determine initial eligibility for services. Walk-in’s welcome at Entry Point Walk-In Center, 6634 W. Roosevelt Rd., 2nd Floor, Oak Park.
How we serve
Libraries exist to help people find and connect with the information they need.
Our Social Services and Public Safety team serves individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness, poverty, and mental health and substance abuse disorders. The team connects people to information and resources such as advocacy and service referrals for housing, employment, health care, immigration, domestic violence, and more.
Meet our team
- Robert Simmons, Director of Social Services and Public Safety, 708.697.6910, RobertS@oppl.org
- Stephen Jackson, Teen Services Manager, 708.697.6908, StephenJ@oppl.org
- Aaron Alonzo, Supervisor of Public Safety, AaronA@oppl.org
Finding resources in the library’s collection
No matter what your age, you can check out books from any floor of the library.
Collaborating with local agencies
The team collaborates and maintains relationships with more than 40 organizations throughout the entire Chicago area, connecting people to the services and resources they need. Here are some key partners and resources in the Oak Park area.
- Housing Forward. Transitions people from housing crisis to housing stability, with a range of programs and services. See the shelter schedule through May 2020 »
- Oak Park Homelessness Coalition. Consists of over 50 organizations and individuals working to end homelessness in Oak Park. Find community resources for your family in Oak Park »
- Community Mental Health Board. Assists in planning, developing, coordinating, evaluating, and funding mental health services in Oak Park. This includes services for persons with mental disorders, alcohol or other drug dependence, or developmental disorders.
- Oak Park Township Youth Services. Uses prevention techniques, crisis intervention, restorative justice, therapeutic involvement, case management, and coordination of wraparound services by partnering with other community agencies.
- Warming Centers. The library is a defacto warming center, meaning we organically serve as one during library open hours only. When we are closed, these warming centers are open »
Why have social workers at the library?
Robert Simmons joined the library in 2016 as its first social worker, a direct result of the library’s intentional strategy of listening and responding to community aspirations. Since then, the Social Services and Public Safety team has served hundreds of vulnerable patrons. Most are Oak Park residents experiencing mental illness, homelessness, and extreme poverty.
The decision to hire a social worker was part of rethinking how we engage with all patrons, “including those who are vulnerable, marginalized, or at-risk, who use our facilities on a daily basis, and for whom we should be providing services,” said Executive Director David J. Seleb.
It was also part of a growing trend for public libraries, including those in Evanston, Denver, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. “Around the nation, public libraries have become de facto community health centers for people who don’t have access to other resources,” Simmons said.