In addition to housing more than 1.2 million books, the Harold Washington Library Center offers a dedicated YOUmedia teen space, children’s storytime area, Maker Lab, and the Cindy Pritzker Auditorium, which hosts workshops and lectures. There's also room for creativity, with music practice rooms and gallery spaces exhibiting the works of local and international artists. Many Chicago architecture and walking tours include a stop at the library to admire the Beaux-Arts and Mannerist exterior.
Things to know before you go
- Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the building.
- A Chicago Public Library card is required to check out books and access some library features. Don't miss the Winter Garden on the ninth floor, a light-filled atrium beneath the library's signature glass roof.
- Research your family history at the library’s genealogy databases and microfilm collection (CPL card required).
- Free children's storytimes are held several times a week on the second floor.
- The library is fully accessible.
How to get there
The Harold Washington Library Center is located at 400 S. State Street in Chicago’s South Loop District. The Harold Washington Library-State/Van Buren CTA stop offers easy access via public transit. There is no parking available at the library, but many paid parking lots are nearby.
When to get there
The library is open seven days a week, from 9am to 9pm Monday to Thursday, 9am to 5pm Friday and Saturday, and 1pm to 5pm on Sunday.
The Maker Lab
The first free and public maker space in Chicago, the library’s Maker Lab on the 3rd floor is a high-tech gathering place for makers, tinkerers, and crafters. Visitors can work on personal projects using 3D printers, laser cutters, and digital design software during drop-in shop hours on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. The Maker Lab also hosts sewing circles and free workshops on projects like digital woodblock printing and laser-cut ornaments.
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