Core Chicago Area Public Library Tours

Friday, June 23, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm

Planning Chair

Laura Klinger, Principal, Hacker Architects


The tour will depart from McCormick Place at 8:00 am.


Come tour three unique Public libraries in the Chicago area. Check back for tour itinerary. Library staff and architects will lead the tours and be available for questions. Lunch will be served.

Chicago Public Library - Chinatown Branch
The 24,000 sf Chinatown Branch Library serves as a new civic, educational, and social hub for Chicago’s Chinatown neighborhood, providing a much-needed public gathering place geared toward inclusive community activities and driven by technology-based learning.  Completed in 2015, the two-story building has been designed for flexibility and utility. The community meeting area and children’s zone are placed at the ground level while teen and adult zones are situated on the second level. Like a traditional Chinese courtyard plan, all spaces connect to the central atrium room, providing clear orientation and spatial cohesion.

Chicago Public Library - Independence Branch
This 65,000-square-foot hybrid library/ affordable housing project in Chicago combines a 6,000-square-foot branch library with a 44-unit affordable senior housing development. The two-story library supports reading and earning areas for all age groups, as well as a large community multi-purpose room which supports public lectures, gatherings, and events. The second floor of the library looks out over a large roof garden that covers the parking lot below and serves as an outdoor amenity space for the housing residents. Housing units all feature outdoor colored balconies spaces which speak to individual identity.

Skokie Library
The 133,000-square-foot Skokie Public Library was originally built in three phases, spanning 1960-2003. Significant updates were needed to better serve this diverse and dynamic community of 66,000 residents just outside of Chicago, so extensive discussions were held with community members and staff to identify the greatest needs. Completed in 2021, the renovated first and second floors are a welcoming and easy-to-navigate space that celebrates the collections in attractive and accessible ways. A wide range of spaces and rooms were created to allow for reading, relaxing, collaborating, and various events for all ages. Three exterior courtyards were also redesigned and integrated into the daily life of the library. Without adding area, the renovation added space, light, and views to allow for a completely re-imagined library experience. Highlights include the Studio, an expansive makerspace; an attractive and flexible storytime room; more inclusive restrooms; a cafe space; and a large and comfortable teen space.

Participants will learn how a library can be combined with a housing project, gain knowledge of how a library can be sensitively renovated to allow for a completely reimagined library experience, and find out how a library can be designed to be flexible for future changes.


Core Member: $159 early | $159 advance | $209 onsite
ALA Member: $189 early | $189 advance | $239 onsite
Non-member: $210 early | $210 advance | $260 onsite
Other Member: $189 early | $189 advance | $239 onsite