So you have some time to kill but no money to spend? Head over to the Oak Park Public Library's main branch, which opened in 2003. The new building stays true to Oak Park's reputation for prairie architecture and coolly represents the community's commitment to the arts. Unlike your crusty old college library, Oak Park Public Library's reading areas are bright, airy, comfortable and even stylish. Satisfy your need to curl up in front of a cozy fire in the library's quiet reading room, which has a fireplace (but no bearskin rug). The third floor reading area has tall wood-beam ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the neighboring park. Wireless Internet access is not yet available, but high-speed internet is available on the library's computers and ethernet ports are available for laptop-equipped patrons.
The library's "Art in the Library" program has purchased a number of paintings, mostly from local artists, that are displayed throughout the building; an art gallery on the second floor houses a new local exhibit each months. And don't miss the "Art-o-mat" machine on the ground floor where you can buy a cigarette-box-sized masterpiece from a rehabbed vending machine for just $5.
Centerstage Reviewer: Aimee Hall