About This Library
Mabel Manning Branch was dedicated December 10, 1994, replacing a small reading room in Rockwell Gardens Housing Project. The branch was named for Mabel Manning, a community activist considered by many to be the “mayor” of the Near West Side. Known locally as the “flower lady,” she grew flowers in the empty lots around her home and gave them to community residents. Manning was instrumental in the achievement of a 16-point neighborhood revitalization agreement reached by the city, private developers and community residents related to the construction of the United Center sports and exhibition facility. The agreement resulted in the building of the branch library that bears her name.
Mabel Manning Branch features a reading garden. It is also the site of two pieces funded through the Percent for Art Ordinance administered by the City of Chicago Public Art Program: “The Francisco Family” (1994) by Dawoud Bey and “The Magic of Moonlight” (1986) by Willie L. Carter.