One day, earlier this year, I borrowed an amazing book of photographs and text about American libraries. In it were photos of large libraries, small ones, busy libraries and defunct libraries all across the US of A. It was a great read for a person like me! I wrote notes of the names of all the ones I wanted to see…quite a long list, I might say! Since then, my schedule was organized and I’ve had to cross out a lot of the names because I won’t be going near some of the places, BUT, that’s still left me with quite a few to visit!
The first one was the Seattle public library…but due to needing a day off to rest and a forgetful-jet lagged brain, I never got to it! We did, however pass it 4 times on buses, so I did see the outside at least!
Determined to do better, I used my last day in Chicago ( the family had gone) to visit the next library on the list! I wasn’t disappointed!
The Chicago public library system has many branches all around the city and suburbs( one was near to us in Pilsen, where we stayed) but I went to visit the main one, the daddy of them all….the Harold Washington library.
But then you go inside……
It looks a bit like a foyer to a very flash hotel! But no, it was a library! I talked to the very helpful front desk ladies and they gave me a map to help me find my way around…all 10 floors of the place!
As you can see, there’s a floor for EACH DEPARTMENT! Awesome. On the first ( ground) floor there’s a regular sort of borrowing library so you can be in and out without bothering about the rest of the building! But, as I explored each floor, I fell more and more in love with this place. They have what every library has, but just on a much larger scale.
The children’s library was really good…I didn’t like to invade people’s privacy so didn’t photograph much of it. On leaving, I complimented the librarians on their fine children’s collection and they smiled, and upon learning where I was from they said ” from an Australian, with your excellent libraries, that’s awesome praise!”
Next, I spied an interesting sign:
And then , the grand finale! The Wintergarden! Which actually spans 2 floors so it’s a huge space! Around the sides were 2 floors of administration offices and meeting rooms. But what a beautiful space!
The only thing missing was a cafe! But they would’ve had horrible coffee so maybe that was just as well! Many people were up here eating lunch, studying, using their laptops or even reading!!!! What a wonderful place. What a wonderful library. If you didn’t read the small print on the photos, this is the largest library in the States!!
I finally dragged myself out of there and then went and did a few more regular touristy things! Walked around Millennium park, saw the cool and huge playground that was nearby and walked till I could actually see Lake Michigan, which looked as big as an ocean! But if you want more details on these I suggest you read the family’s blog: Upupandmackay.wordpress.com , I know they’ll have their Chicago blog on soon!
Just 1 last thing….as I walked down the steps from Art Institute of Chicago, I noticed this sign….
I could have wandered the streets of Chicago getting commentaries from the points of interest! What a cool idea! Sadly, I was exhausted from my big day out, so I caught the El back to Pilsen, and went to bed!
Stay tuned for my next amazing library adventure!!!