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Harold Washington Library Center offers quiet place for Chicagoans

Outdoor view of Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago
Outdoor view of Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago
Alicia Smock

The best way to find serenity within the busy city of Chicago is to visit the Chicago Public Library Harold Washington Library Center. Located at 400 S. State Street, this giant building is hard to miss, taking up an entire block from Van Buren Street to Congress Parkway.

The building itself is beautifully crafted and appealing to the eye and, upon entering, one can see marble lining the gray-painted walls for a more modern appearance. However, one of the main things one will notice right away is the sound: silence. To go from blaring horns and sirens to being able to hear a pin drop just by taking a few steps through a doorway proves how soundproof the library walls really are.

Nine of the ten floors of the library are accessible to the public and a directory is placed on each floor to describe what can be found and where. The contents range from general fiction books to music compositions to career books and so on. Each section of books, resources, etc. on each floor is clearly labeled for easy search and find.

There are many tables and private study areas upon each floor where one could sit down and read or complete a project for work or school. Certain floors even contain private rooms for large groups or practice rooms for playing music.

The Harold Washington Library Center has so much to offer to Chicagoans as well as to any visiting parties. One of the many offerings is that of silence. Even those who love the city tire of the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The peaceful atmosphere of the library offers refuge from the city noise. More information, including directions, hours, and events, can be found at