bookporn #31: public library (II): chicago

what strikes first of all, in the Harold Washington, is the space: ten floors of it, a library with pretensions to the prairie:

chicago public library

even amidst the cluster of shelves, when it looks just like a library ought to, the vanishing point still exerts its strange, distant magnetism, enticing one to plunge ever forward

chicago public library

but, in the spirit of judging libraries by their contents, here is a small sample of things that can be found in Chicago’s public library: a wonderful bust of Saul Bellow

saul bellow

and some writing on the wall — discreet, minimal words under spacious, vaulted ceilings of the entrance lobby

the writing on the wall

(strangely sanguine words for one who also wrote

Unreal City,
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many


Of death’s twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.


We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.)


2 responses to “bookporn #31: public library (II): chicago

  • Demekah

    That is indeed a beautifull space. I absolutely looove the floor!

  • chris kerns

    Dear Rachel:
    I would like to purchase the book porn. I am most interested in the pictures of the libraries of chicago and cambridge. are these pictures included in a book with pictures abour libraries.
    bye chris kerns

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