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Harold Washington Library

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.

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