Best Libraries in Chicago Suburbs
If you have a big exam coming up in Chicago, there's no better place to study than in a quiet, peaceful library. You can request a private room where you can focus and get some serious studying done.
Libraries are also great for spending a day off with the kids. Many public libraries feature fun play areas, puppet shows, and children's books.
Or maybe you have an important document that you need to print but don't have a printer or WiFi? If so, you'll benefit from a trip to a library with computers and printers open to the public.
Even in today's digital age, libraries still have much to offer and are worth visiting.
Chicago's suburbs have no shortage of libraries, but which are the best?
That's the question that we're going to answer today. Read on to discover our picks for the top 5 best libraries in the Chicago suburbs.
Best For: Meeting Spaces and Technology
Head 10 miles west of downtown Chicago, and you'll wind up in Oak Park, one of the city's highest-rated suburbs. It's home to the massive Oak Park Public Library, which has three branches. The library has an enormous collection of books, eBooks, magazines, and DVDs. You'll find everything from NY bestsellers to books on equity and anti-racism.
The library also places a heavy emphasis on assisting businesses and entrepreneurs.
There are plenty of meeting spaces available that you're free to reserve. They're great for business meetings or to serve as a quiet area to get some work done yourself.
Oak Park Public Library also offers subscription-based resources to business professionals. These provide valuable insights into industry trends and include:
- Investing and financial news
- Grants and requests for proposals
- Business classes and workshops
- Chicago's latest business news
These resources are available to anyone with a complete-access library card.
The library also has fantastic technology resources that you can use. There's free public WiFi and public computers that you can use by appointment. Devices include laptops, iPads, and an LCD projector. There are also printers, scanners, and fax machines available for use. This library should be your go-to if you need to conduct business in Chicago's suburbs.
Best For: Children's Play Areas
Look no further than this library if you're looking for a fun place to spend a day with the kids. Evanston is a beautiful city, and there's no shortage of things to do there, either.
There are plenty of great restaurants nearby where you can grab a quick breakfast with the kids. In particular, you'll find Frida's Breakfast and Lunch across the street, which has fantastic food and service.
Evanston Public Library is a massive building with mesmerizing interiors.
The children's play areas are awe-inspiring. They feature creative seating, bright and vibrant colors, and plenty of cubbies/areas to explore.
Evanston Public Library has nearly everything you could ask for - including streaming movies and TV. Of course, they have a gigantic collection of books, magazines, articles, and newspapers.
Evanston Public Library is well-known for its events. There are storytimes, guessing jars, movies, and pajama nights for kids. There are book clubs, virtual cafes, and coffee mornings for adults.
Tech-wise, computers are publically available for adults, teens, and children. A library card isn't even required to use the computers, which is a plus. There are also:
- WiFi hotspots
- 3D printers
- Printers: 50c per color page or 20c per black-and-white page
- Laptops to check out
- Technology classes
- Homework help for kids and teens
As you can see, Evanston Public Library has many excellent resources. Besides being a great place to have fun with the kids, there are many other things to appreciate.
Best For: Tourism and Historical Architecture
Our next pick brings us to the suburb of Wheaton directly west of downtown. The Henry S. Olcott Memorial Library is a niche pick - as its collection deals entirely with Theosophy.
Yet, we mainly selected it for its pure beauty and historical relevance. If you're into Theosophy, you'll find great value in the collection.
You don't want to pass this one up if you're touring the city and want to see a gorgeous historical library.
Founded in 1926 by Colonel Henry Steel Olcott, one of the founders of the Theosophical Society. The institution contains over 25,000 books, articles, magazines, videos, and audio recordings.
If you're visiting to appreciate the beauty of this historical library, there's no shortage of things to see. You'll feel as if you've been transported to the past once you step inside.
A popular route for tourists is to combine a visit to the library with the DuPage Native Harvest Woodland and the Quest Bookshop.
Features of the library include:
- A theosophical encyclopedia
- Audio and video archives
- Quest magazine
- Online and in-person Theosophy programs
- Summer National Conventions
This is a beautiful library to visit whether you're interested in Theosophy or not.
Best For: Collections (books, DVDs, magazines, music)
Should you find yourself in Elmhurst without much to do, you won't regret a visit to this library. It has a fantastic collection of books, movies, and music to enjoy.
Books for teens, adults, and kids are all conveniently categorized. You can quickly find bestsellers and award winners, and they have a massive eLibrary. You can download and stream content directly from their website.
Once you find a good book, you can break into it with a nice cup of coffee at the built-in coffee shop.
That's right; this library has a coffee shop, making it the perfect place to hunker down with some prime reading material.
This library has:
- Career services
- Students can request homework help
- Music & art
- College information
- Online programs and classes
- Virtual storytime for kids
You'll never be at a loss for things to do at this beautiful library.
Best For: Everything (Play Areas, Technology, Tourism, Collections, Studying)
Geneva Library tops our list as it's the most modern library with outstanding amenities. This library has it all, whether you want to entertain your kids or meet with coworkers to discuss a new project. There are also community events for kids, teens, and adults.
Their database is incredible as it contains books, videos, audio, and research materials.
It's the perfect place to conduct in-depth research for a new paper or study.
Event-wise, there is always plenty going on at the library. Events include book clubs, art programs, and 3D printing for kids. There are events nearly every day of the week (most of the time, with five or more happening at once).
Geneva Library contains:
- Book club bundles
- Test preparation
- Digital library
- 3D printing
- Study and meeting rooms
- Computers, printers, and copiers
- Adobe Software Suite and other helpful programs
You'll have everything you need at your fingertips whenever you visit Geneva Library.
Concluding Thoughts: The Top 5 Best Libraries in the Chicago Suburbs
The Chicago suburbs are home to computer libraries, play area libraries, and historical libraries. Each has its own appeal, depending on how you plan to spend your afternoon.
If you've got the kids with you, they'll love Evanston Public Library. If you've got some business to conduct, you should head to the Oak Park Public Library or Geneva Library. If historic architecture is what you seek, you'll love the Henry S. Olcott Memorial Library. If all you're after is a great book and a cup of coffee, you should head to Elmhurst.
Posted by Rafael Velasco on