CPL Celebrates 150 Years

Chicago Public Library is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year! Throughout 2023, CPL will commemorate a century and a half serving Chicagoans.

“For the past 150 years, our exceptional staff, partners, city leaders and of course, our Chicagoans, have come together to create an international library leader,” says CPL Commissioner, Chris Brown. “My team and I are honored to celebrate our city library during this important milestone, and we look forward to continuing to reimagine what a library can be.”

CPL is celebrating this extraordinary milestone by hosting a series of citywide activities, exhibits and events:

Chicago Poet Laureate program

In collaboration with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the Poetry Foundation, CPL is hosting the first Chicago Poet Laureate program. Chicagoans are invited to submit their nominations for Poet Laureate through January 18. The nominee can be a poet in either written or spoken traditions. To nominate a poet, complete the nomination form. The poet laureate will tentatively be announced in April 2023 at Poetry Fest.

Books We Love Staff Lists

Celebrate CPL's anniversary with some of our favorite books for adults, teens and kids.

Stories We Tell Exhibits

Ten CPL locations will display historic images of the space and community, giving viewers an introduction to the location’s history and its broader role in their neighborhood. CPL's history exhibit will also be displayed at Harold Washington Library Center and feature never-before-seen photos from CPL’s archives and special collections.

Scroll through a visual timeline of CPL’s history online.

CPL 150 Events

Popular and impactful authors of CPL’s history will also be featured and brought back for author events throughout the year. View all upcoming author events.

“Throughout these 150 years, Chicago Public Library has been a trusted resource for people of every age and ability, speakers of all languages, and residents in each neighborhood,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “This trust has always enabled CPL to connect our residents with the resources and opportunities they need to achieve their goals and contribute to our city’s diverse and vital communities.”

Visit chipublib.org/150 for more exciting events and ways to celebrate the library’s anniversary.