In the last fiscal year, more than 15,000 people participated in elementary and preschool programs at the River Forest Public Library (RFPL) and many thousands more visited the Children’s Department to browse, pick out books and materials, use computers, play and hang out. Although the Children’s Room is only a fraction of the total building, it accounts for 40% of the materials circulated (over 100,000 items) and 74% of all program attendees. 

That level of use attests to how well-loved the Marion Lahey Children’s Room is—and it means heavy wear on the carpeting and paint installed in 2010. Most of the shelves were purchased in 1953 for the original Children’s Room in the Library basement and they are virtually impossible to move or reconfigure to allow greater access to materials and to make the room accessible for patrons with disabilities.

 In August 2018, the River Forest Public Library Foundation kicked off a campaign to raise funds to update the Children’s Room with new shelving, carpet and paint. The campaign was conceived following the pledge a major gift from an anonymous River Forest family with strong attachment to the Children’s services and attracted support from a wide range of donors including River Forest Daisy Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts. The campaign concluded successfully raising over $65,000 from more than 100 donors who made gifts ranging from ten dollars to several thousands.

This was the first major campaign by the Foundation which was established in 2015 to enhance the vitality of RFPL for today and for future generations. Previously, the Foundation supported the Anne T. Smedinghoff Memorial Garden and has underwritten special programming by the Library. In this season of giving, donating to the RFPL Foundation is a great way to honor a parent, child, teacher, friend, mentor or your own lifelong love of learning. Your gift helps ensure that RFPL is strong and vibrant, able to serve people of all ages and interests. Visit

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