Exhibit: Stories We Tell: The History of the Clearing Branch

The Stories We Tell: The History of the Clearing Branch exhibit is on display at the Clearing Branch from March 1 - August 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 Robert Bitunjac, branch manager of the Clearing Branch.

The Clearing Community

The Clearing community name was assigned in the 1920s, as were most of the names of Chicago's 77 communities, thanks to a group of sociologists from the University of Chicago who were tasked with naming the various areas of Chicago. The group based the name Clearing on the previous "Town of Clearing," which existed from 1912 to 1915. Learn more about the neighborhood in our blog post about the name Clearing.

Building History

Library service began with the opening of the Clearing Sub-Branch, a sub-branch of Chicago Lawn Branch, on May 2, 1942, at 5608 W. 63rd Street. Mrs. Naomi Gale and her staff welcomed the community after a short effort by local community groups to get a branch library for the area. In the 1960s, the library shook its sub-branch status and moved across the street to 5643 W. 63rd Street.

By the 1980s the small storefront location was starting to outgrow its confines and a community effort led by former branch manager Linda Dougherty resulted in the groundbreaking of a new city-owned location at 6423 W. 63rd Place. The new location opened on June 18, 1994.

Do you have any memories of the library in Clearing? 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.