They call it an outpost. The 250-square-foot location, shared by Hot Tix and housed in the Chicago Visitor Information Center in the Water Works building, is dwarfed by a cafe and reading lounge. There isn't much to it. The outpost, or "station," consists of a few shelves of books and a children's cart.
"It harkens back to how we started in the 1860s and 1870s," said Ruth Lednicer, director of marketing at the Chicago Public Library. Before there were library buildings, residents ordered books from a library list and picked them up at drugstores or grocers, according to Lednicer. Now they canorder them online and pick them up at the station. Gold Coast residents, previously divided between the Harold Washington main library and the Division Street Near North branch, have long requested such a service. While many neighborhoods lack a branch that close, few are as densely populated. "It's a win/ win," Lednicer said. "In the first two months it has been open, this space has already surpassed some branches in its circulation number." Lednicer added that the potential exists for these "stations" to pop up in other neighborhoods. The priority, however, is opening five full-service, green-designed libraries in the next two years. All of the branches will be free standing. Two of them - the West Humboldt Park Branch and the Greater Grand Crossing Branch - will serve communities that previously did not have a library.
Chicago Public Library at Water Works is at 163 E. Pearson St. Hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, and 1p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
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