Friday, October 3, 2008

Rudy Lozano Branch (Tour Continued)



Rudy Lozano Branch Director Hector Hernandez stands in front of the beautiful mosaic called Chic Chac by the artists Hector Duarte and Cynthia Weiss. The artists based the mosaic on the famous Toltec monument Chac Mool in Mexico. The orginal Chac Mool monument held offerings to the gods, especially Tlaloc, the rain god. The artists replaced the offerings with a book, and inserted Mayan symbols inside the book. The mosaic became a part of the library as the artists set them directly on the brick wall. They chose colorings which compliment the decorative red and blue frieze which appears along the walls in several sections throughout the library.

Following a lunch catered by the Nuveo Leon Restaurant, Director Hernandez provided a short history of the library. Prior to the building of the library, there were no library services, then a bookmobile, and then a storefront. The library dates to 1985 and is 18,000 square feet which is larger than some branch libraries. Planners thought people would walk to the library so there is no parking lot which allowed a larger building to fit in the area. It is meant to serve the Mexican population that grew in the area. There are about 45,000 people in the area the library serves. In the past, the neighborhood was about 95% Mexican but now that is about 80% Mexican due to gentrification.

Officials from the Mexican Consulate visit often and until recently, held many of their events in the library. The Mexican Consulate donated around 15,000 books to the Chicago Public Library and most of those went to the Lozano Branch.

Director Hernandez explained some of the services the library offers. There is introduction to the public library given in Spanish. The library tries to help high school drop outs and there are GED and ESL classes offered. The video collection includes some old Mexican cinema. There is a Cybernavigator who helps patrons and the current one recently earned a $3,000 scholarship for college. Lastly, Director Hernandez added that the Spanish language media is very eager to promote events.

Reference:

Chicago Public Library Rudy Lozano Branch Library. (n.d.). A Guide to the Artwork at the Rudy Lozano Branch Library. Chicago: Chicago Public Library.

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