MALS/IDS Alumni Jeff Tangel Creates “Little Free Library” for Chicago’s Englewood Community

Jeff II

DePaul University MALS Program alumni Jeff Tangel was recently featured in Dawn Turner Trice’s Chicago Tribune article, “The Nourishing Quality of Books.” Tangel graduated from the MALS program in 2012 and currently works as an associate for DePaul University’s Institute for Nature and Culture, but the Tribune article highlights his unique social entrepreneurship and service work in the Englewood community.

Tangel coordinated a “little free library” outside an Englewood neighborhood food pantry, giving community members access to an eclectic and growing collection of books.  The library mimics the idea of an oversized bird house, but with a plexiglass door. Tangel drew inspiration for the project from a gentleman in Wisconsin who created a free and bird-house-like library in memory of his mother.

Tangel partnered with local food pantry volunteer and friend, Arenge Dixon, to set up the library near the food pantry. While Dixon was skeptical about the library’s functionality, community members have since embraced the library as a vital source of reading material. Tangel collects donations and has scavenged for books recycled by used bookstores in order to sustain the library and his patron’s reading needs. His personal initiative coupled by the eager interests of Englewood community members has helped Tangel’s “little free library” and its success.

The MALS and IDS Program congratulates Tangel on his post-graduate successes. He models the spirit of DePaul’s Vincentian values and commitment to community service. Please be sure to check out Trice’s Tribune article and follow Tangel’s work in the Englewood neighborhood. We hope that his work inspires other students and graduates in their future Chicago community involvements and professional endeavors.

By Caelin Niehoff, Student Assistant