Chicago, Thursday, January 13, 2011. Today Show Me Chicago looks at another Chicago Gem, the Harold Washington Library. HWL is the central library for the Chicago Public Library’s 70 branch system. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, it is the World’s Largest Public Library Building. Additionally, it was just named one of the ten most beautiful libraries in the United States by cultural website Flavorpill. Best of all, it is centrally located and offers free exhibits, free programs, free gathering spaces, free wifi and more.
The library is named for former Chicago mayor, Harold Washington
who was the catalyst for its design and inception. Washington initiated a design competition for the building in 1987, with Hammond, Beeby and Babka, getting the nod and completing the project in 1991.
The building spans one city block, is ten stories high and is approximately 75,640 square feet. Enjoy views of the buildings interior and exterior details in the slideshow below. Then visit the library at 400 S. State St., check out the current free exhibits (listed below) and all it has to offer.
Chicago’s Sculptor: Lorado Taft at 150 Years
Celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Lorado Taft (1860-1936). Join us for an exhibit of photographs and several of Taft’s sculptures. Taft was responsible for some of Chicago’s best-known sculptures including Fountain of Time in the Midway Plaisance, Eternal Silence in Graceland Cemetery and the Fountain of the Great Lakes at the Art Institute of Chicago. Congress Corridor, Ground Level. Through February 4, 2011.
Made by WPA: Illinois Art Project Chicago.
This exhibition and film highlights the history and legacy of government funded arts programs during the 1930s in Illinois. Chicago Gallery, 3rd Fl. Through April 3, 2011.
Called to the Challenge: The Legacy of Harold Washington.
This exhibit highlights three themes from Washington’s personal and political legacy – his life, his image and his work. Harold Washington, 42nd mayor of Chicago, was the city’s first African American mayor. He was a reformer who changed Chicago politics and a person who never lost sight of the place from which he came and the influences that inspired him. This exhibition is drawn largely from the Harold Washington Archives & Collections of the Special Collections & Preservation Division of the Chicago Public Library. Harold Washington Exhibit Hall, 9th Fl. Ongoing.
Harold Washington Library.
The library is located at 400 S. State. Website: chicagopubliclibrary.org. Phone: (312) 747-4050 or 312 747 4300.
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