This past year I found myself sitting between book stacks of the great literary giants of the past; I found myself sitting at tables with youth browsing science and engineering books imagining a bright future of creativity and progress; and I found myself sitting among a cross section of the people of Chicago. Furthermore, as I visited branches from around the city I learned about the history and values of Chicago. I learned about labor. I learned about race. I learned about language. I learned about conquest, struggle, and resilience.
Well, I got to say, I haven't really been to Clearing before. Actually, I didn't know Chicago still existed this far west of Midway. I used to spend a lot of time in Summit, which is the suburb directly to the west, but I must have always just passed by Clearing. Clearing is one of … Continue reading Clearing Branch: Day 21
I am finally back on the trail! It's been quite a while since I have been able to make it out to other branches, but being as yesterday was Yom Kippur and I spent the day in quiet reflection and solitude, I figured a library visit was in order. It is also with particular intention … Continue reading Humboldt Park Branch: Day 20
The library, as with the neighborhoods, demonstrate a clash in values and histories. Ironically, as the books on the shelves hold thousands of stories, the people in the library live them.
Visiting the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. branch was a little underwhelming compared to some of the other branches. First, the branch was small, which in and of itself isn't a problem. The old, yellow cinderblocks definitely left the aesthetics a little lacking; however, I suppose my disappointment about the branch lied in the fact … Continue reading Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Branch: Day 18
“They use everything about the hog except the squeal.” The Jungle by Upton Sinclair Chicago can be classified in three different ways: by ward, community area, and neighborhood. Wards are political areas, represented by alderman who make up our city council. There are 50 of them, and they are numbered. I live in the 24th Ward, for example. … Continue reading Back of the Yards Branch: Day 17
Chicago is a union city. It is a city where race matters. It is a city where everything boils down to politics. Rudy Lozano was a young, Mexican American activist who represents the heart of Chicago.
I came in at 1:05 pm, so all of the teens were in school. I guess I didn't know what I was getting into, though, when I sat at a table and started writing. There were about 6 or 7 other people scattered in my area, all working on laptops or reading (one guy was napping). At 1:15, the teens started coming in.
As I mentioned previously, there are a few reasons I wanted to start this blog. Here are the big three: (1) I wanted to learn more about why people use libraries. What is it about the space and place of a library that draws people in? (2) I wanted to explore and examine Chicago because it is a … Continue reading West Town Branch: Day 15, Part 1
So, given that this area is experiencing such dramatic changes, I was interested to see the library. The architecture is what I have come to expect from Daley-era libraries—open space with a raised ceiling in the middle.