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For the first time in a decade, all 81 of Chicago’s public libraries were able to open on Sunday.

But could the omicron variant and a surge in COVID-19 cases put a damper on these expanded hours?

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Thursday her office will “roll out soon a comprehensive set of new mitigations,” but did not provide details. She and public health officials have said they do not plan on closing businesses.

During last winter’s surge, despite union pushback, libraries remained open even when restaurants were closed for indoor dining.

The reduction in library hours began under former Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2011. He proposed cutting $8 million from libraries to close a shortfall. The City Council unanimously approved the mayor’s budget that year.

The result? About a quarter of the library’s workforce was eliminated. Neighborhood branches slashed hours, closing Sundays, and even Mondays at one point.

Who’s affected? Reports have found that in some neighborhoods, nearly half of school-age children don’t have internet access at home. For adults, libraries provide job services, like resume help.

Between 2012 and 2019, only Harold Washington Library and the city’s three regional libraries were open seven days a week.

Some branches began expanding their hours after the City Council approved an $18 million property tax hike in Lightfoot's first budget. But the expansion was delayed when the pandemic closed libraries.

👉 Check the Chicago Public Library’s site for branch hours and closures.


Before Krusty the Clown and Homey the Clown, there was Bozo. “The world’s most famous clown” was a Chicago icon.

“Bozo’s Circus” ran on WGN for more than 40 years before the show was canceled in 2001. But so many fans of the show, who grew up dreaming they would one day be selected to play “The Grand Prize Game,” still have fond memories of Bozo.

Host Jacoby Cochran was one of those Chicago kids.

🎧 Listen to WGN’s Mike Toomey talk about Bozo's history and the clown’s lasting impact.

👉 Watch actor David Arquette on WGN talking about acquiring the rights to Bozo.


  • Hospital space in Illinois is at an all-time low — while burnout among health care workers is only growing. [Chicago Tribune]
  • Even without a mandate, restaurants are closing and performances are being canceled. [Eater Chicago; Chicago Sun-Times]
  • One of those performances was Sunday’s “Karaoke Storytellers.” Tickets will be honored for a later date to be announced.
  • Speaking of Emanuel, meet the new ambassador to Japan. [WTTW]
  • How would you fill a vacant lot? [Block Club Chicago]


+ TOMORROW: Roscoe Village House Decorating
If you live in the neighborhood, enter your house to win $150 during the 10th annual holiday contest. 

+ WEDNESDAY: Santa at Calumet Park
Get cookies, toys, and pictures taken with Santa from 11a.m.–1 p.m.

+ THIS WEEK: Merry, Merry Chicago
Join the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for a lineup of classic Christmas carols on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.


While some people jumped at the chance to stay in the house from “Home Alone,” it’s far from the only Christmas movie set in Chicagoland.

How many have you seen from this list of 10 Chicago Christmas movies?

How many has City Cast seen? Well…

  • Simone: 4️
  • Carrie: 5
  • Jacoby: 7

📧 What Chicago Christmas movies are missing from this list? Reply to this email and let us know!

🎧 Listen to a discussion about Chi representation on screen, including a roast of Netflix’s “Holidate.”


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