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

The Stories We Tell: The History of the Mayfair Branch exhibit is on display at the Mayfair 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 Rebecca Berg, branch manager of the Mayfair Branch.

Before the First Location

The Mayfair Branch is named after the Mayfair community on Chicago’s northside. The area was annexed into Chicago in 1889. As early as 1938, interested residents in Mayfair started to work on getting a library branch in their community. Originally, they proposed the Little Red School House, which was the school in the area before Palmer School was built. After Palmer was built, the Little Red School house became a community center, but it was rejected as an option for the library.

Growing in the Neighborhood

On October 3, 1942, the first Mayfair Branch was dedicated at 4750 N. Kenneth Avenue. The branch ranch moved to a larger location at 4750 N. Keeler Avenue in September of 1974 after persistent efforts by the Palmer PTA, the North Mayfair Association and community members.

When Bankers Life and Casualty Company sold their property in the area, the North River Commission created a plan for the 26 parcels of real estate once owned by Bankers Life, and a new Mayfair Branch location was part of this plan. The current Mayfair Branch at 4400 W. Lawrence Avenue was dedicated on June 29, 1996.

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