Lower Floor- Meeting Rooms
1st- Information Desk and Popular Library
2nd- Thomas Hughes Children's Library
3rd- Public Computer Area and Circulation Desk
4th- Business/Science/Technology Center
5th- Government Publications Department and The Talking Book Center
6th- Social Sciences and History Department
7th- Literature and Language Department
8th- Music Rooms and Visual and Performing Arts Department
9th- Coorporate and Private Events (Winter Garden), Special Collections, and Exhibits
I also have found some interesting facts about this library that can help one to visualize how large this library is:
- 756,000 Square Feet
- 70.85 miles of shelving
- 374,073 linear feet of shelving (Linear feet is just the straight distance from point A to B)
- Opened on October 7th 1991
- Appeared in The Guinness Book of World Records as the largest public library building in the world
- The roof of the building has ornaments in each corner of the building they include and owl and seed pods which are symbolic of the natural bounty of the Midwest
Here is the Harold Washington Chicago Library Website CHECK IT OUT!
Chicago Public Library – Tour
Bright and early, around 8 o’clock in the morning, most of our class met at the train station in Elmhurst to begin our journey into Chicago. We arrived at around 9:30 and met at the great circle at the Chicago Public Library. My first reaction, along with some other students as well, was that we were inside a government office building. The place was huge, and did not look like a library at all.
I was a bit surprised by the first thing we were shown, the auditorium. It’s not the type of area you would expect in a library, but it did sound very useful at the same time. It was extremely beautiful, and could obviously hold a lot of people for whatever type of meeting, speech, or lecture that space was needed for.
As for the rest of the library, it was equally as impressive in size. Each and every floor had it’s own unique section, making it very easy to do research as long as you had an idea of what you were looking for. If not, there were plenty of people around to ask that could direct you to where you needed to be.
The décor, though, was unfortunately not as impressive as the massive size. The colors were very dull and although the artwork was interesting, there just wasn’t enough of it to be awestruck. However, it isn’t an art museum, it is a library. Many people don’t go there to admire artwork, so it wasn’t that big of a deal.
I was a little surprised by some of the things Greta told us while I was asking questions. I must admit, I was expecting a much bigger homeless problem since it is located in the city. I was also surprised that when asked about vandalism, she said it wasn’t really a problem at all. Once again, being that it was located in the city, I was expecting it to be more of a problem.
Overall though, it was a pretty good tour, and I got a good feel for the library. I feel like I could go there today and have no problem finding what I needed (after looking at the directory again, of course). I was very impressed by the massive collection and size of the place. Who ever knew libraries so large existed? I certainly didn’t before this class.