Exhibit: Stories We Tell: The History of the Albany Park Branch

The Stories We Tell: The History of the Albany Park Branch exhibit is on display at the Albany Park Branch from May 1 - October 31. Stories We Tell is an exhibit series celebrating 150 years of Chicago Public Library at branches around the system. This exhibit was curated by John Glynn, branch manager of the Albany Park Branch.

Early Beginnings

Branch serves both the Albany Park neighborhood to the south of the nearby Chicago River and the North Park neighborhood where the branch resides. The original branch location opened in 1922 located in a storefront in the heart of Albany Park at 3536 W. Lawrence Avenue.

Local organizations raised funds to expand the library into the neighboring lot at 3538 W. Lawrence Avenue, reopening May 1, 1927. In 1938, one of those organizations, B’nai B’rith, donated Jewish texts to support a special Judaica collection. The Judaica collection contained 500 books in both English and Yiddish, covering Jewish history, mythology, religion, biography and fiction. The Albany Park Branch also supported several wartime efforts during this time, including Aluminum Roundup Week, which ran from July 21 to July 26, 1941. The display windows of the branch were filled with pots and pans donated by members of the community.

Modern Construction

In 1963, a new stand-alone library building was constructed at 5150 N. Kimball Avenue, in the North Park community. The branch served the residents of both neighborhoods but retained its original Albany Park moniker. The 5150 N. Kimball Avenue building was torn down in 2012 to make way for the construction of new modern building on the same site. Today’s Albany Park Branch, located at 3104 W. Foster Avenue in the North Park neighborhood of Chicago, opened its doors on September 13, 2014. As one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Chicago, the branch collects materials in the English, Spanish, Korean and Arabic languages.

Do you have any memories of the libraries in North Park? Let us know on social media by tagging #CPL150.

About CPL 150 

Chicago Public Library is 150 years young! Since first opening our doors in 1873, we've served all Chicagoans with free and open places to gather, learn, connect, read and be transformed. Join us in celebrating 150 years of serving our communities. Learn more by visiting chipublib.org/150.