A Great Institution...
“The public library is where place and possibility meet.” — Chicago native and author Stuart Dybek
Since first opening its doors to the public in 1873, the Chicago Public Library has maintained its status of one of the City’s most democratic of institutions — providing all Chicagoans with a free and open place to gather, learn, connect, read and be transformed.
The more than 70 locations of the Chicago Public Library are at the forefront of providing innovative library services, technologies and tools Chicagoans need to achieve their personal goals and to establish the City’s role as a competitive force in the global marketplace. Since 1989, the City of Chicago and the Chicago Public Library have opened 61 new or renovated neighborhood libraries — unprecedented public library growth. These new libraries are that special third place — beyond home and work — where people come to improve their lives, nourish their intellect or simply to be entertained. The library is where people of all ages and backgrounds gather freely. Through its rich and current book collections, state of the art technology and cultural and public partnerships, the Chicago Public Library is a thriving, engaged leader in Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods.
Although the Chicago Public Library has changed dramatically since its beginnings in an abandoned water tower after the Great Chicago Fire, its mission has remained constant:
“We welcome and support all people in their enjoyment of reading and lifelong learning. Working together, we strive to provide equal access to information, ideas and knowledge through books, programs and other resources. We believe in the freedom to read, to learn, to discover.”