Harold Washington Library

by Camellia August. 03, 2019 270 views

Is there a book you want to read but you just can’t find it at your local library? Don’t fret! Chances are you will find that book at the Harold Washington Library, downtown Chicago. This library has made it into the Guinness book of records as the largest public library building in the world!

But this was not the original building for the Central Library in Chicago.

The original library was opened in 1897 and was located on Washington Street. The building was converted in 1977 to an arts and culture center, now called Chicago Cultural Center (you can read about that building here).

The central library was temporarily relocated and because the new building was smaller than the previous one, many of the books were placed in storage. The temporary relocation turned into long term until Harold Washington was elected mayor of Chicago in 1983.

In 1986 with the support of the city and the Library Board a $175 million bond was issued to provide funds for a new building. In 1987, a design competition was held by the city to decide on the architecture of the library. One of the entrants was Hammond, Beeby and Babka who took elements from nearby historic buildings as part of their design entry and who ended up winning the competition.

With the support of Harold Washington and Chicago's wealthy Pritzker family, ground was broken and construction of the building commenced. The building was completed in 1991 and the newly appointed mayor at the time, Richard Daley, named the building in honor of former mayor Harold Washington, who was an advocate of reading and education for the citizens of Chicago.

Acroteria- an owl, a symbol of knowledge

Acroteria- an owl, a symbol of knowledge

Acroteria- seed pods, which represent the natural bounty of the Midwest.

Acroteria- seed pods, which represent the natural bounty of the Midwest.

The building is made up of approximately 756,000 square feet (70,200 m2) of space and is ten stories high, with each story dedicated to a specific genre of print material. In general the library houses 6 million books, periodicals, photographs and other items. This is not just any library; it is a library that offers anything your heart desires. It offers a makerspace, which included multiple 3 D computers. It has a media room where you can create video. An art room for, you guessed it, creating art. It has exhibitions galore from famous artist to famous chefs. There is always something being presented here.

Look you can make curtains using your old slides 😃

Look you can make curtains using your old slides 😃

Art room

Art room

Bust with a blue shirt- acrylic painted on wood

Bust with a blue shirt- acrylic painted on wood

Walking Figure- acrylic painted on wood

Walking Figure- acrylic painted on wood

One of the art exhibits which opened in February of 2016 is called "Above and Beyond". The exhibit was created by Vietnam War veterans and is made up of 58,000 dog tags, representing each person killed in the Vietnam War .

Military Tags

Military Tags

Military Tags

Military Tags

Military Tags

Military Tags

Millennium Park- scale model

Millennium Park- scale model

Cloud Gate- scale model (no other way to take a pic of this except for including myself in it-unwanted selfie)

Cloud Gate- scale model (no other way to take a pic of this except for including myself in it-unwanted selfie)

This library is also a place many homeless people spend the cold winter days or the hot summer days of Chicago, sitting. There is an unwritten rule that you can sit in the library but you cannot sleep. A security guard walks around each floor making sure everyone in the building is awake. If someone is sleeping, he nudges them and asks them to sit up and not sleep. It reminded me of the same routine I had in my classroom.

The piece de resistance is located on the 9th floor. This floor not only houses exhibit halls, Special Collections, and the Harold Washington Archives but also holds the Winter Garden, or atrium if you please. Here you can bring your food, sit, read a book , and relax. Many area office workers land here for lunch.

Murals on the 9th floor

Murals on the 9th floor

Murals on the 9th floor

Murals on the 9th floor

By the way, although there are ten floors in this building, only nine are open to the public. The tenth floor is made up of offices and technical services for the library.

If you are ever in Chicago, this building should be on your list of places to see, you will not be disappointed.

(sources)

(sources)

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There are 23 comments , add yours!
Russell Smith 1 month, 1 week ago

Stunning building :)

1 month, 1 week ago Edited
Camellia Replied to Russell Smith 1 month, 1 week ago

I agree.😊

1 month, 1 week ago Edited
Antonio Gil 1 month, 2 weeks ago

And it is spotless. Amazing building where I wouldn't mind working. It conveys tranquillity and knowledge. Your pictures made it justice

1 month, 2 weeks ago Edited
Camellia Replied to Antonio Gil 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Thank you .

1 month, 2 weeks ago Edited
Jay Boggess 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Great series! Beautiful facility captured in such creative compositions! 
+1smile+1 Love the reflections on the super shiny reflective floors!

1 month, 2 weeks ago Edited
Camellia Replied to Jay Boggess 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I know...wish someone would clean my house to sparkle like that smile

1 month, 2 weeks ago Edited
Jay Boggess Replied to Camellia 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Housekeeping is way down the list of my priorities.......as well.......
Luckily I live alone, so I'm always comfortable with things maintained at my standards..... 
+1smile+1

1 month, 2 weeks ago Edited
Camellia Replied to Jay Boggess 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Luckily my husband is one of those who picks up after himself (or maybe I have trained him well 😉) so the house is usually very tidy.....now if we start putting white gloves on and inspecting....that's another story. I like you, at this stage of my life,  have decided that there are better things to do than housekeeping😊

1 month, 2 weeks ago Edited
Jay Boggess Replied to Camellia 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I can appreciate a home with everything in it's place, but seldom dedicate much time & effort to maintaining it  that way.........
In the kitchen, which is my favorite room, I keep everything in sight and within reach, so, while cooking, I don't have to waste precious time digging through cabinets in search of ingredients and tools......I love commercial kitchens that have everything in sight & at hand, since so many recipes require split second timing for most processes....right???

1 month, 2 weeks ago Edited
Camellia Replied to Jay Boggess 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I so agree. None of this digging in small cabinets trying to find that one pot that works best of a certain recipe.😉

1 month, 2 weeks ago Edited
Jay Boggess Replied to Camellia 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Amen & Amen! 

Since I prepare 95% of my own meals, I've got to have everything in sight & within reach.........

I have a little TV, right next to the stove, so I can watch The Food Network, as I prepare my meals!!!

Nice to have "company" in the kitchen.......most always inspirational and cheerful......I never watch "The News", while cooking............it's too depressing and always leaves me grumpy with a bad taste in my mouth.......not so, with the always-upbeat TV chefs..................right????

1 month, 2 weeks ago Edited
Camellia Replied to Jay Boggess 1 month, 2 weeks ago

The only disappointment I have with food network is the fact that they have less cooking shows and more "game" shows now a days. I used to love watching Alton Brown or Giada because I learned quite a bit from them. Now not much learning on my part. 😞

1 month, 2 weeks ago Edited
Jay Boggess Replied to Camellia 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I agree. Now-a-days, I'm watching PBS, for the series, called "Create", which features all kinds of 'how to" programs with lots of real cooking shows, rather than the food game show programs we're finding more of lately on FNC. I still like to watch "Chopped" on Food Network! I like to "compete", while I'm preparing my meal.....I don't have any judges, but I do like to see if I can get my dinner "plated" before the clock expires.....(((grin))).....

1 month, 2 weeks ago Edited
Camellia Replied to Jay Boggess 1 month, 2 weeks ago

🤣🤣🤣 Love the fact that you are competing with them. I will have to look up "Create" on PBS.

1 month, 2 weeks ago Edited
Jay Boggess Replied to Camellia 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Another cool show on PBS is "Quest".....
Let me know what you think if you can find them, in your area.....grinning

1 month, 2 weeks ago Edited
Camellia Replied to Jay Boggess 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Thanks jay for the recommendations. I can find Create in our area but unfortunately not Quest. I did look up Quest on line and it does look like a cool show, maybe one of these days we will get lucky smile

1 month, 2 weeks ago Edited
Jay Boggess Replied to Camellia 1 month, 2 weeks ago

My pleasure!

If you are on a cable service, with lots of channels, most of them have several different PBS channels with different programs at different times. You might want to call your cable provider to enquire....

+1 grinning+1

1 month, 2 weeks ago Edited
Lynn F Medley 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Thank you for the tour! Beautiful place ! Thr military tags, impressive and moving,,

1 month, 2 weeks ago Edited
Camellia Replied to Lynn F Medley 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Yes, especially standing under them was just extremely moving.

1 month, 2 weeks ago Edited
Wayne Scott 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Wow! That is very impressive and wonderfully captured in your images. Thank you for sharing.

1 month, 2 weeks ago Edited
Camellia Replied to Wayne Scott 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Thank you Wayne smile

1 month, 2 weeks ago Edited
Sherry Hill 1 month, 2 weeks ago

i so love the dog tags.. wow!
and i'd be in my glory in this place.. so many books.. ahhhh..

1 month, 2 weeks ago Edited
Camellia Replied to Sherry Hill 1 month, 2 weeks ago

You'd be in hog heaven.....no one could remove you from here.As a matter of fact it took me forever to get out of there as well....so many things to taken in.

1 month, 2 weeks ago Edited
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