The Harold Washington Library Center is the main branch of the Chicago Public Library system. When it opened in 1991, the ten-story library was the largest public library in the world.
Located in Chicago’s South Loop, its design is based on the winning submission in a 1988 architecture contest. The contest was to design the new library called for by then-Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, the city’s first African American mayor.
The Harold Washington Library Center is more than just a traditional library for books. Here, you can research your ancestry in their online genealogy databases. There’s free Wi-Fi throughout the building, art on display from more than 50 artists, music practice rooms, a Maker Lab, and book clubs and reading events for your children. Be sure to visit the glass-domed Winter Garden atrium on the library’s 9th floor as well.
The Harold Washington Library Center is open seven days a week. Library hours are 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM Monday to Thursday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Friday and Saturday, and 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM on Sunday. The Harold Washington Library is a popular stop on architecture walks of Chicago.