Chicago Public Library – Harold Washington Center
The Harold Washington Library is named after the first Black mayor of the city of Chicago. It’s the largest branch in the Chicago Public Library system. There are over seven floors, and there is a YouMedia space for high school students to interact with technology and a Media Maker space for adults to gain technical and digital skills. It’s located in downtown Chicago, which provides easy access to other attractions in the area. I registered for a library card and checked out “Devil in the Grove,” by Gilbert King.
I love the library. The Library has always been the cornerstone of my community. It has provided me refuge from the danger that lurks in the city streets and has opened doors into unexplored environments and fantastical dreams—both in the real world and in my own imagination. As a young boy, my mom would occasionally take me to the library to checkout by Dr. Seuss and other canonical work in children’s literature. I would often opt to play in the toy area instead and would play blocks with my little sister, but that didn’t change the relationship with books that I had. I would still end up choosing titles and reading them, sometimes with my mom.
Whenever we moved to different towns in different states, one of my family’s first objectives was to get a library card. It was one of the things that established us in foreign soil. Yet it wasn’t until I returned to my birthplace of Connecticut that I acknowledged how the library saved my life. During high school, I did not have a computer in my house. Thus, I would venture to the city library and check out computers an hour at a time to complete my work. If I needed a quote to lace my essay with, I would look up a text on the library computer and track down the call number. Even when I wasn’t doing work, I would eventually start hanging out in the YOUMedia room. It was a place for teens to interact with technology, so I would listen to other Hartford teens record music in the studio, play NBA 2K and Madden, and surf the Internet all in the library’s YOUMedia room. Nonetheless, reading was still my first and foremost priority. I actually now work at the MLK, JR. Library at Syracuse University.