People Interact

Blog about people-centered design by Lisa Chow and Sandra Sajonas.

Wandering Librarian: The Newberry

Now settled into my new home, I’ve taken to wandering the libraries of the Second City. You can’t come here without visiting the Newberry Library; Chicago’s independent research library. Open since 1887, the Newberry’s impressive collection is open and free to the public. Unfortunately, I wandered in on a day the stacks were close. I did, however, get the chance to talk with one of the curators. I learned that Mr. Newberry’s original collection was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire, including an original draft of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

Even with the loss of the original collection, the Newberry’s holdings of 1.6 million books, 600,000 maps, 1 million postcards and 5 million pages of manuscripts still boggle the mind. All of this is searchable with their online catalog.

The library also has a gallery where they exhibit a rotation of items from their stacks. In fact, I enjoyed their Melville: Finding America at Sea exhibit displaying their impressive collection of Melville’s works in honor of the 200th anniversary of Melville’s birth.

If you ever find yourself in the Second City, please fit it time for the Newberry Library.

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