A good library is much bigger than the books it houses. Vivian G. Harsh, Chicago's first black librarian, established the Midwest's most extensive collection of African-American history and literature and in 1975 the Chicago Public Library opened the Carter G. Woodson Regional Library - one of its two regional libraries - to preserve the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection.
In 1998, an 11,000-square-foot wing was added to accommodate donations to the collection. Last year, the archives of the century-old Chicago Defender were donated to the collection by photographer and former editor of the Defender, Robert Sengstacke, whose father ran the acclaimed paper for the better part of the 20th century. Twenty of Sengstacke's iconic images, which range from the Civil Rights Movement to Obama's political rise, are on display until May 17 in conjunction with the Chicago Alliance of African American Photographers exhibit. "They are the best group of historically significant, artistically compelling photographs we have ever exhibited at Woodson," said curator Michael Flug. Aside from the exhibits and the Research Collection, the largest library on the South Side is home to a beloved children's section that looks to the future on the bedrock of its past.
Carter G. Woodson Regional Library, 9525 S. Halsted St., 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Saturday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, or go to
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