03 November, 2010


Chicago Public Library

The next stop on our tour was Chicago. This is a beautiful city that has undergone a renaissance over the last couple of decades. There is a wonderful waterfront onto Lake Michigan, and one of my favourite things is the new Gehry outdoor auditorium and the big silver jelly bean type sculptures with water parks in the same precinct. I have only been in Chicago in summer, and there was a real festive air in the city.

The Chicago Public Library is one of the major institutions in the city and with nearly 11 million volumes it is the largest library system in the Midwestern United States and one of the largest public library systems in the United States. The Chicago Public Libraries consist of 79 branches including the central library. In 1991, the Harold Washington Library Center, Chicago's new central library, named for the late mayor, opened to the public. It was the world's largest municipal public library at the time of its opening. Since 1994 the Chicago Public Library has been led by Commissioner Mary A. Dempsey who launched an aggressive rebuilding project, replacing or rehabilitating the majority of Chicago's neighborhood library branches. It has been the largest and most successful urban library expansion in recent history.

We also went on a River Tour by the Architectural Society and we visited Oak Park to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s studio and went on a walking tour of the neighbourhood.