Local History Exhibit Jazz Music Legends of Oak Lawn graphic image
Genealogy Resources graphic image

Welcome to OLPL’s Local History page. The Local History room is a small museum full of photos, objects, books, maps, stories and other items that chronicle and celebrate Oak Lawn’s colorful history. On this page you’ll find easy buttons to do specific searches, links to local history databases containing old newspapers and obituaries, and upcoming programs and events. The museum is located on the second floor of the Library.

Local History area has its own website where you can search our entire collection: https://olpl.pastperfectonline.com/


Jazz & Music Legends of Oak Lawn: Coming in April 2024

Opens Saturday, April 27 from 6-8 p.m. (after Library hours)
Location: Second Floor Local History Room

Join us for a celebration and exhibition of the Oak Lawn Jazz Festival days. Oak Lawn Community High School hosted one of the biggest high school jazz competitions in the country for nearly 25 years, from 1960-1985. High school jazz and stage bands from Chicago and all across Illinois competed for the prestigious first place trophy and individual performance awards. We’ll display photos and memorabilia in the Local History room, enjoy refreshments and feature a musical tribute, all after-hours on the Library’s second floor.

Included in the exhibit will be an homage to rock n’ roll music in Oak Lawn, featuring concert photos by local a photographer who worked with both REO Speedwagon and Styx, bands with deep roots in Oak Lawn. The exhibit will last throughout 2024. Follow-up musical performances by various jazz groups will be scheduled and announced throughout the year.

We hope you’ll join us to reminisce and celebrate Oak Lawn’s great music scene and legends!

If you have memories or items from the jazz fest days, please help us by adding these items to our exhibit. Contact Tom Javorcic, tjavorcic@olpl.org.



Please contact Tom Javorcic with any questions or donations to our collection. Tjavorcic@olpl.org, or call (708) 422-4990, ext. 530


A sampling of select collections from our research website.
Click on photo or headline to start search…

Women’s History

View more than 900 items related to women’s history in Oak Lawn including photos, documents, objects and oral history interviews.


View more than 240 yearbooks from local schools and organizations including OLCHS, Harold L. Richards, Covington, Reavis, BICHS and more.

Black History

View items related to black history in Oak Lawn including photos, documents and oral history interviews.

Audio Record Collection

Listen to musical recordings from Oak Lawn Community High School, Harold L. Richards High School, local entertainers and more.

World War II

View more than 480 items connected to World War II including photos, oral history interviews, objects and more.

Oak Lawn Fire Department

Search over 1,202 records containing photos, documents and physical objects about Oak Lawn’s Fire Department.

Oak Lawn Police Department

Search over 600 records containing photos, documents and physical objects about Oak Lawn’s Police Department.


Click on photo or headline to start search…

Newspaper Index

The Newspaper Index contains more than 87,000 references to people, places and events from 1988 – present. Indexed papers include the Oak Lawn Independent, Village View, Reporter, Southtown and more.

Obituary Index

The obituary Index contains more than 245,000 references to obits and death notices from 1985 – present. Indexed papers include the Oak Lawn Independent, Village View, Reporter, Southtown and more.


View digitized microfilm from the Oak Lawn Independent and the Village View newspapers! Issues range from 1933-2014 and are hosted by the Internet Archive.

Oak Lawn Books

Two great Oak Lawn books written by former Local Historian Kevin Korst, published by Arcadia Publishing.

Oak Lawn Tornado of 1967   /     Oak Lawn

Chicago History

Browse the library’s online catalog to find hundreds of books exploring the history of Chicago and its suburbs!