Located in the gorgeous Gold Coast neighborhood, the Newberry Library is one of Chicago’s oldest libraries. It’s been open since 1887, and now operates as an independent research library with exhibits and collections that are a great resource for avid learners of all ages. Here are five facts that you probably didn’t know about the Newberry Library:




1.  It’s FREE!

Even though the library is privately funded, it’s totally free to the public. Chicago businessman, Walter L. Newberry (1804–68) left $2.2 million in his will for the founding of a free library. The library offers free events including speakers, exhibitions and educational programs. More than 500 generous volunteers make these services possible. Learn about upcoming events. Make sure to get a free Reader’s Card so you can take advantage of all the amazing resources that this library has to offer.



2.  They have a large selection of original manuscripts and documents.

newberry library

The Newberry Library’s prestigious collection of historical documents attracts scholars from around the world. Some of the library’s most-established collections include American History and CultureAmerican Indian and Indigenous Studies, and Chicago and the Midwest. There are even more original sources in the form of music, photos, and maps.   



3.  You can learn about your family history!

Are you interested in learning more about your ancestry? You can use library resources to do some genealogy research. The Newberry even offers specials programs for genealogy that are almost always free to the public. This could be a fun and educational family activity.



4.  They have cool new exhibits every month.

Linda Hancock art

The library hosts super cool exhibits that change each month, bringing you the opportunity to explore something new and interesting. Through June 16, 2017, you can check out the 31st Juried Exhibition of the Chicago Calligraphy Collective, which explores the history, practice and appreciation of calligraphy. The Newberry offers curator-led tours so you can get the most out of these exhibits.



5. You can contact a librarian ahead of time.

Looking for a specific book or resource? Want guidance on a research project? Contact a Newberry librarian for assistance before you head to the library.



Plan Your Trip

The Newberry Library
60 W. Walton Street
Chicago, IL 60610

Reading rooms hours: Mon and Sun: closed, Tues–Fri: 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sat:9 a.m.–1p.m.

Exhibit galleries hours: Sun: closed, Mon, Fri, and Sat: 8:15 a.m.–5 p.m., Tues, Wed, and Thurs: 8:15 a.m.–7:30 p.m.


The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the individual authors and commenters and do not reflect the views of Choose Chicago.