While residents of various ethnic backgrounds call Riverside home, the village may see an increase in the number of Czech and Slovak visitors strolling into town next year.
That’s because on Dec. 7, the Riverside Library signed an agreement with the Czech and Slovak American Genealogy Society of Illinois (CSAGSI) to bring the Paul M. Nemecek Genealogy Library to Riverside.
The Nemecek Library comes to Riverside from the T.G. Masaryk School in Cicero, a Czech school that has been a staple since the late 1930s for people of Czech, Moravian and Slovak heritage to come together and learn language, culture and history. The Nemecek Library brings over 1,500 books, maps and magazines in English and Czech to the Riverside Library along with computers with indexes of Chicago’s Bohemian National Cemetery Records.
Riverside came to acquire the collection after having been approached by the CSAGSI earlier this year.
But, why come to Riverside?
“I knew that the [Cicero] location wasn’t desirable,” Riverside Library Director Janice Foley said. “There wasn’t a lot of parking, it was on the third floor and there was no elevator access. It was very hard for some of the older people to use the collection.”
The CSAGSI has over 800 members, most of whom call the western suburbs home. Foley said Riverside was believed to be a suburban location with easier access both by public transportation and housing facilities.
The Riverside Library hopes to have the Nemecek Library completely set up by March 2015.
“The actual items have been moved here, but they have not been unpacked yet,” Foley said. “We’re going to have to catalog them first.”
The items in the collection will be available for library use only, but Foley said the library plans on having volunteers at the library put on programs focused on genealogy and Czech history.
As an additional display, Foley said there will be two Czech maps hanging on walls at the library as well as a Czech clock from the Cicero school.
For more information on the Nemecek Library, contact the Riverside Library at 708-442-6366.