You know him, even if you don’t him. Jim Madigan, for so many years the deputy director of the Oak Park Public Library, is retiring this week. He had his hand in countless projects at the library from the full-scale renovation of the Maze Branch back in 2005 to a pointed defense of privacy rights at the library when the federal government overreached after 9/11.
Madigan, something of an accidental librarian after he answered a help wanted ad in the Sunday Trib in the early 1990s, brought a vision of inclusion to our library. That showed itself in the art shows he helped select, the permanent art collection which he oversaw, the range of films by African Americans, LatinX and Asian filmmakers which were screened.
When the new main library was being planned early in this century, Madigan was on the building committee and brought a focus on accessibility and sustainability which are hallmarks of what we have long considered the most ambitious and successful public building in Oak Park in memory.
A few years later when he headed renovation of the beloved Maze Branch he focused on retaining the beauty and integrity of the structure while guaranteeing accessibility.
Long an Oak Parker, often visible as he bikes through town, Madigan will turn to teaching and being a patron of our libraries.