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The original Chicago Public Library (CPL) was founded in 1873 as a place for local inhabitants to congregate, share ideas, connect with each other and, of course, read! Today there are nearly 80 public libraries scattered throughout the various Chicago communities that serve as mini cultural centers for their area. The public is invited to use library resources to expand their knowledge and continue their journey of lifelong learning.

Chicago Public Library locations have plenty of reading material, but they also have technologically advanced services, including free wireless Internet access and other online tools. You can bring a laptop into almost all CPL building and get on the Web instantly. The CPL Web site is a great place to learn about the libraries’ different resources and it offers a convenient way to see if the book you want is checked out or not. You can conduct research right from your computer and view “Recent Arrival” lists or get recommendations from the CPL staff.

CPL hosts hundreds of events, workshops and programs every year. The courses and meetings cover everything, from how to manage money to how to knit a sweater. Additional groups and classes are offered for the kids, encouraging our little ones to explore the exciting world of learning through interactive tools, computer searches, and good old-fashioned storytelling. CPL hasn’t forgotten about the teen set. The libraries also have a slew of programs and youth groups that touch on pertinent questions such as How do I apply for colleges? and How do I get student loans? Teens can also participate in book discussions and theater projects.

  • Harold Washington Library Center (Main Library, 400 S. State St., over 756,000 sq. feet, open 60 hours per week, over 70.8 miles of shelving, when built, the biggest library in operation)
  • Chicago Neighborhood Libraries (79 branch libraries, featuring internet access and many other community services)