10 Best Public Libraries In Chicago

Chicago is America’s one of the most hyped cities to live by. From beauty to brains, there’s everything here which gives you satisfaction to live along. Chicago has some of the country’s best and independent reading places whereby you can collect information right from academics to research, history and other theories as well. Moreover, these buildings have stunning architectural interiors that add up more to the royalty of these libraries.

The Chicago Public Library (CPL) is the public library system that provides books and space to the readers. There are a total of 80 public libraries in Chicago under the Chicago Public Library system that holds 5,721,334 volumes. This makes it the 9th largest public library in the United States by volumes held.

We curated the list of best public libraries of Chicago, Illinois based on architecture and volume they hold.

Best Chicago Public Libraries

Here’s a list of the best libraries in Chicago which everyone who loves reading should check out. Choose the best Chicago Public Library near you:

1. Harold Washington Library Center

Public Libraries In Chicago
Image: Fabienne Wassermann

Harold Washington Library is one of the most prime library spots on the south state street. It was opened in 1991. This Chicago Library was the world’s largest municipal public library at the time of its opening. 

The building is designed in a distinctive postmodern architectural design with the most unique and architectural interiors in it. There are nearly nine floors of books, computer labs, archives and even a separate room for children’s reading which makes it very much exquisite for the readers. They also have a glass doomed winter space on the ninth floor which is perfect for literature events, exhibitions or seminars wherein the light beautifully pops up the whole hall. Also, this is probably the first place that offers free music practice rooms for the public. 

Address: 400 S State St, Chicago, IL 60605, United States

Hours: Monday to Thursday: 9am–9pm; Friday- Saturday: 9am–5pm; Sunday 1–5pm

2. Chinatown Branch Library

Chinatown Branch Library
flickr: Public Building Commission of Chicago

This library ranks one among the top 10 beautiful libraries in the world. The library was opened In the year 2015 in the Armour square of Chicago, covering up an area of 16,000 square feet. The best part about this library is the feng shui-influenced interiors and the beautiful skyline that you can witness from this place. There’s also a Chinese mural inside the library which shows the legacy and respect of this place that holds the historic character with the other country. The mural was painted by CJ Hungerman and is entitled “Universal Transverse Immigration Proclamation”

Address: 1135 Powell St, San Francisco, CA 94108, United States

Hours: Monday and Friday: 1–6pm; Tuesday to Thursday: 10am–9pm; Saturday 10am–6pm; Sunday 1–5pm

3. Sulzer Regional Library

Sulzer Regional Library Public Libraries In Chicago
flickr: Daniel X. O’Neil

Sulzer Regional Library is one of the regional libraries on the North Side of Chicago.  The building was designed by the Architectural firm Hammond Beeby and Babka in the year 1985. The library holds a large collection of historic collections and contemporary books that speak about the neighborhoods of North. It is located on the North Lincoln Avenue of Chicago.

Address: 4455 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625, United States

Hours: Monday to Thursday: 9am–9pm; Friday and Saturday: 9am–5pm; Sunday 1–5pm

4. T.B. Blackstone Memorial Library

This library is located in the Kenwood neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. This library was probably the first branch of Chicago Public Library which was designed by Solon S. Beman taking inspiration from the ancient Greek temple. The marble columns and Exclusive Tiffany style Dome defines the whole exquisite beauty of this library.

Address: 4904 South Lake Park Avenue Chicago, IL, Illinois, US

Hours: The library stays open from 10 AM to 6 PM daily. 

5. Poetry Foundation Library

Poetry Foundation Library is one of the best and probably the one and only Chicago’s library dedicated to poetry. It has more than 30000 volumes of books on poetry which consists of the originals from author archives, first copies, anthologies, and other poetry-related articles and information. The best part is that the library launches a poetry magazine every month for all the poetry lovers to dive into the magical world of words. The Poetry Foundation Building has a garden and exhibition gallery attached to it.

Address: 61 W Superior St, Chicago, IL 60654, United States

Hours: Monday: 11am-4am; Tuesday: 11am–7pm; Wednesday to Friday: 11am–4pm; Saturday: Closed; Sunday: Closed

6. The Newberry

The Newberry Library in Chicago is one of the best libraries to study about various researches as it holds a lot of books on topics of study and authentic researches. It was established in the year 1887 by the funds left down by Walter looms Newberry. The library specializes in American Indian and Indigenous studies, music from the Renaissance to the early 20th century and various studies of historic study from the ancient 20th century. You can take free tours of the libraries and attend various lectures and exhibitions too.

Address: 60 W Walton St, Chicago, IL 60610, United States

Hours: Monday: 8:15am–5pm; Tuesday to Thursday: 8:15am–7:30pm; Friday and Saturday: 8:15am–5pm; Sunday: Closed

7. Joe and Rika Mansueto Library at the University of Chicago

This library is somewhat addressed as the 50’s library which is also the 10th largest research library in Chicago. This beautiful library has a beautiful American outer dome structure and has nearly 180 seats in its reading area. The place is open to all and anyone can visit it to read from the massive volume of 3.5 million books here.

Address: 1100 E 57th St, Chicago, IL 60637, United States

Hours: The timings of the library are as follows, Monday through Thursday from 8 am to 11:45 pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 8 are to 10:45 pm, and Sundays from 10 am to 11:45 pm.

8. Stony Island Arts Bank

This island book library was a project undertaken by the Theaster Gates and his Rebuild Foundation. The library is constructed inside a partially structured bank and has some of the renowned Chicago’s jet magazine records and legendary collections. There are also some books on black culture and history, donated by the DuSable High School library which is accessible only on special appointments to the general public. 

Address: 6760 S Stony Island Ave, Chicago, IL 60649, United States

Hours: Monday to Saturday: Closed; Sunday: 12–7pm

9. Evanston Public Library

The Evanston library dates back to 1863 which was designed with the whole idea of creating a peaceful space for children and young teenagers to read. There are loft areas, special technology classes and also many business events and book fares to attend. The library is located at 1703 Orrington Avenue, Illinois. You can contact them to know further detail.

Address: 1703 Orrington Ave, Evanston, IL 60201, United States

Hours: Monday to Thursday: 9am–9pm; Friday and Saturday: 9am–6pm; Sunday 12–6pm

10. Richard J. Klarchek Information Commons

Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, Loyola College Chicago’s library is a place to read with a view. It is one of the 50 most amazing libraries in the world. The library is not a general public space and you might need some guest access to enter the chambers but, as in for teachers and students of the college, it is a great asset to utilize. It is also believed that they have shifted their focus more on technology-based books and research rather than completely paperback records. It is a new generation idea leading to the definition of the library.

Address: N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, Illinois, EEUU

Read More, Most Epic libraries in the world

We hope you are impressed by these Public Libraries In Chicago as much as we are. If you ever happen to visit any one of these places, make sure you carry your journal along with you to take important notes and record your findings. Each one of them is extremely valuable and informative.