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Jun 10, 2021 · Search the Chicago Examiner newspaper and playbills from Chicago's early theaters. Digital Public Library of America Find digital photographs, maps, oral histories, personal letters and more from libraries, archives and museums across the United States.
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The plan carried the support of Thomas Hughes, a prominent member of Parliament and the well-known author of Tom Brown’s School Days, who had visited Chicago in 1870. The donation, consisting of more than 8,000 books from Great Britain, prompted leading citizens of Chicago to petition for a public meeting to establish a free public library. Previous libraries in Chicago were private organizations that required membership fees. The public meeting led to the Illinois Library Act of 1872, which authorized cities to establish tax-supported libraries throughout the state.
In April, the City Council passed an ordinance proclaiming the establishment of Chicago Public Library.
On January 1, Chicago Public Library opened its doors at the southeast corner of LaSalle and Adams streets in a circular water tank that survived the fire. On October 24, the Chicago Public Library board elected William Frederick Poole as librarian. The library moved several times during its first 24 years, including an 11-year stay on the fourth floor of City Hall.
A delivery station system of outposts with small collections served Chicago's neighborhoods. Most stations were in stores and were managed by store personnel. Patrons could call for a specific book, which was delivered by horse-drawn carriage to the outpost nearest their home. Over the next decade, deposit stations included local candy or drug stores, where owners were paid a modest sum for accepting books for delivery and retrieval. “Special” deposit stations included businesses, churches and factories, where books were available for employees or members. By the early 1900s deposit stations accounted for two-thirds of the circulation of the Chicago Public Library.
Jane Addams provided space for a reading room in the Butler Gallery of Hull House. The typical reading room could be found in Chicago’s many park fieldhouses or on the upper floors of businesses.
On Monday, October 11, the Central Library, on Michigan Avenue between Washington and Randolph streets, opened its doors. The building, on the grounds of Dearborn Park (named for the Fort Dearborn Military Reservation that formally encompassed the area), cost about $2 million. The building was designed by A.H. Coolidge, associate of the firm Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge of Chicago, with 25 draftsmen taking a year to complete about 1,200 drawings. Heedful of the lessons of the Great Chicago Fire, they designed the building to be practically incombustible. The center of this building, now known as Preston Bradley Hall, contains a dome and hanging lamps designed by Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company of New York. The Washington Street entrance, grand staircase and dome area contain inscriptions of 16th century printers’ marks, authors’ names and quotations that praise learning and literature in mosaics of colored stone, mother of pearl and favrile glass. The bill to erect a public librar...
Isabella N. Blackstone presented Chicago Public Library with funding to construct its first branch library, in memory of her late husband, Timothy Beach Blackstone. Mr. Blackstone served as president of the Chicago and Alton Railroad from 1864 until 1899, and was one of Chicago’s leading philanthropists. The library was modeled after the famous Erechtheion on the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. Today, Blackstone Branchserves the Hyde Park and Kenwood neighborhoods, and remains a vital part of Chicago Public Library.
Chief Librarian Henry E. Legler presented his library plan for the city, which called for an extensive network of neighborhood library locations. Its goal was to bring “library service within the walking distance of home for every person in Chicago who can read or wants to use books.” Legler believed several regional libraries with more comprehensive collections than the neighborhood library locations would provide patrons with greater library resources within a reasonable distance. The first regional library, the Henry E. Legler Regional Library, was established in 1920 in the West Garfield Park neighborhood. Legler Regional Libraryremains part of the Chicago Public Library and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Carl B. Roden, who began work as a library page in 1886, was appointed chief librarian, a position he held for 32 years (1918-1950). Under his leadership, the library system increased 50 percent, staff more than doubled, the book stock increased threefold, circulation doubled and total expenditures rose more than 400 percent. Roden Branchin the Norwood Park neighborhood, where Roden lived his whole life, is named in his honor.
The George Cleveland Hall Branch, in the Bronzeville neighborhood, opened under the leadership of branch head Vivian Gordon Harshand children’s librarian Charlemae Hill Rollins. Harsh, CPL’s first African American branch head, inspired and motivated authors, poets and writers at the library and established the largest African American history and literature collection in the Midwest. Rollins, an energetic author, lecturer and storyteller, served as the first African American president of the Children’s Services Division of the American Library Association. The branch was named in honor of Dr. George Cleveland Hall, chief of staff for Provident Hospital and the second African American on Chicago Public Library’s Board of Directors.
Jun 10, 2021 · (Requests for microfilm, photocopies or in-library use only items will not appear in your account. To check the status of those requests, please call Interlibrary Loan at (312) 747-4344 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.)
Jun 11, 2021 · From Swamps to Parks: Building Chicago's Public Spaces is on display now in Harold Washington Library Center's 9th floor exhibit hall. Want to experience Chicago Parks for yourself? Here's a fun scavenger hunt to get you started! Humboldt Park, undated.
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Jun 10, 2021 · Chicago Public Library Commissioner Chris Brown has spent his career creating opportunities for transformative learning through public libraries. Brown, who joined CPL in February 2021, leads one of the largest library systems in the world, with a budget of $130 million and 81 locations, including three regional hubs and a 750,000-square-foot ...
Jun 09, 2021 · Town and Country Public Library is now Fine Free! Click here to learn all about it! This Monday's Board of Trustees meeting will be available to watch on ZOOM. Click here for Library Status Updates. Reference Services. Get help with research, homework, and more by contacting our reference librarian. Youth Services.
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