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Harold Washington Library Center


400 S. State St.




Sat, Oct 15: 10am - 5pm

Sun, Oct 16: 1pm - 5pm

Photography Permitted Washrooms Available Wheelchair Accessible


Hammond, Beeby and Babka, 1991



Harold Washington Library Center is the central location of the Chicago Public Library. Opened in 1991, it is named in honor of the late Harold Washington, Chicago's first African American Mayor. The enormous building’s red stone exterior references other iconic Chicago buildings such as the Monadnock and The Rookery, but the enormous rooftop acroteria, in the form of copper owls, give it a distinctive presence. Always a hub of activity, the library houses over 1.2 million holdings, an award-winning Maker Lab, the renovated Thomas Hughes Children's Library, cutting-edge Teen YouMedia space, dozens of works of art by notable artists, rotating exhibits, music practice rooms and a beautiful top-floor Winter Garden.

Visitor Experience

Visitors are invited to explore the library on self-guided tours. The YouMedia Teen Space on the ground floor will have media-based activities; the Thomas Hughes Children's Library on the 2nd floor will have family-friendly activities; the Newspapers and Periodicals Department on the 5th floor is hosting special projects; the Literature and Language Department on the 7th floor is offering hands-on lessons in creating blackout poetry; and the Mayor Harold Washington exhibit on the 9th floor is open.