Yesterday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and former Mayor Richard M. Daley attended the dedication ceremony for the Richard M. Daley Branch of the Chicago Public Library, located at 733 North Kedzie Avenue in the Humboldt Park neighborhood (Ward 27). The ceremony was also attended by Chicago Public Library (CPL) Commissioner Mary A. Dempsey, Public Building Commission (PBC) Executive Director Erin Lavin Cabonargi, and Daley’s three grandchildren: eight-year-old Maggie, six-year-old Jack, and three-year-old Kevin. Daley told the press his wife, Margaret “Maggie” Corbett Daley, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002, and spent a week in the hospital last month, is feeling better.
“Richard M. Daley’s legacy and service to our city is exemplified by his commitment to helping Chicagoans learn and read, which was a cornerstone of his work as Mayor,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Thanks to his unprecedented support for Chicago Public Libraries, minds have been opened, imaginations have been sparked and lives have been changed across the city.”
Emanuel, Daley, and the children posed in front of a stylized portrait of Daley. It depicts him reading a copy of Daniel Hudson Burnham, Senior’s Plan of Chicago in the foreground with the John Hancock Building and Sears Tower in the background.
The one-story blond brick building was originally going to be called the West Humboldt Branch Library. Officially, the name of this branch library is the Richard M. Daley-West Humboldt Branch, which makes it a little easier, under certain circumstances, to distinguish it from the branch named after his father, which is officially named the Richard J. Daley-Bridgeport Branch.
The City of Chicago states this 16,300-square-foot branch library “is one of three new locations to offer YOUmedia, which connects youth with digital media, books and skilled mentors. Offering both a physical and online space, YOUmedia allows young people from across the city to explore their interests, learn new skills and have a safe environment in which to do homework and socialize with friends.”
According to a press release from the City of Chicago, “The branch will offer the services of a Teacher in the Library, a certified teacher on hand during after school hours to assist students with homework. The branch will also provide a CyberNavigator, who will provide one-on-one assistance to help patrons better understand technology. Both programs are generously sponsored by Wal-Mart through the Chicago Public Library Foundation.”
In one of his last official acts as mayor, on May 6, 2011, Daley dedicated the Dunning Branch Library, the 57th public library that he had built or fully renovated since he took office in 1989. He was born the fourth of seven children and eldest son of the late Mayor Richard J. Daley (1902-1976) and Eleanor “Sis” Guilfoyle Daley(1907-2003).
His father was mayor and political boss of Chicago from 1955 to 1976. Former Cook County State’s Attorney Richard M. Daley was elected mayor in 1989 and re-elected in 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, and 2007.
He announced on September 7, 2010 he would not seek re-election. Previously, many people had assumed he would remain in office until he died like his father before him. The headline for The New York Times article covering his surprise announcement was “Chicago’s ‘Mayor for Life’ Decides Not to Run.”
On February 22, 2011, former Congressman and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was elected mayor of Chicago, and he was sworn into office on May 16, 2011.
On December 26, 2010, Daley surpassed the record held by his father as the longest-serving mayor of Chicago. His twenty-two-year-long tenure ended May 16, 2011. The University of Chicago announced on May 24, 2011 that Daley would serve as a senior fellow at the Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies.
The Chicago City Council approved the location of the West Humboldt Branch Library on July 26, 2006. On January 13, 2009, the PBC announced it had approved the Chicago-based architectural firm of Lohan Anderson, LLC to be the Architect of Record for the design of the West Humboldt and Greater Grand Crossing branch libraries, “a move that ensured continuity across future library development.” The PBC, of which Mayor Daley was then chairman, manages construction and renovation projects for the City of Chicago, the Chicago Public Library, the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Public Schools, the City Colleges of Chicago, the Chicago Transit Authority, the Chicago Housing Authority, Cook County, the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, and the Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority.
Kevin Smith of the PBC explained Lohan Anderson, LLC had “served as the Design Architect for the branch library program, developing the prototype plans that these two libraries and others will follow, and by serving as the Architect of Record, the firm will be able to monitor the two initial projects and incorporate lessons learned into future library design.” Subsequently, on February 24, 2009, Dirk Lohan, Mies van der Rohe’s grandson who previously designed the John G. Shedd Aquarium’s Oceanarium, signed Contract # PS 1457.
A little less than eight months later, on October 8, 2009, the PBC announced that Contract 1491 to erect the building, designed to receive Silver level LEED certification, was awarded to the Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based Leopardo Companies, Inc. Leopardo submitted a bid of $6,384,175, which was the lowest of nine bids submitted.
The Featured Collection is Spanish Language Materials. The Community Meeting Room can accommodate up to 70 people and can be divided.
As with virtually all branch libraries, the Richard M. Daley Branch Library is open from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. It is closed Sundays. The phone number there is (312) 743-0555.