Saturday, January 07, 2006

Practical Guide: Getting to the Newberry

Chicago's Newberry Library, at 60 West Walton Street on the city's near North Side, sits opposite Washington Square Park, between Dearborn and Clark Streets. In the summer of 1968, the park resonated during the Democratic National Convention with protestors and police. Now, it provides a breath of fresh air after a long day of research!
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The neighborhood is now a quiet and increasingly upscale area. The library is one of the largest private research facilities of its kind. Researchers should come prepared with photo ID to register. Lockers on the main floor are available for the storage of personal belongings.

After entering the building and passing the security desk, proceed to the Reading Room. A researcher's card (valid for one year) will be issued, along with a desk assignment. Most of the stacks are closed, but the library's staff and interns respond to call requests with dispatch. Items that are not in closed stacks are in the reading room.

Allow yourself extra time to browse in the Newberry's fine bookshop, located on the main floor. In addition to charts, forms and books of genealogical interest, the shop sells excellent reproductions of some of the collection's rare period maps. An outstanding selection of books related to Chicago's history are also on sale.

To reach the Newberry, take the inbound Blue Line (to Forest Park) to Washington. [You can catch the Blue Line .3 miles N of our hotel.] Disembark at Washington Street station and hop the No. 22 Clark/Dearborn bus, northbound. It will drop you right in front of the Newberry.

On the return trip, board the bus on the Clark Street (west) side of the library for the southbound run. Board the outbound Blue Line train (to O'Hare) at the Clark Street station.

If you need a break from your research, or if hunger strikes, there are a number of restaurants, diners and fast food establishments nearby. Walk east on Walton past Ogden School, and you'll soon be on the famed Rush Street, home to a number of eateries. The library has a break room with some vending machines, dispensing mainly snack items.

The library is open Tuesday through Thursday, 10 am until 6 pm; Friday and Saturday, 9 am until 5 pm.

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