MacArthur Awards $5 Million to Create Public Library at Obama Center

MacArthur Awards $5 Million to Create Public Library at Obama Center

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced a $5 million gift to establish a branch of the Chicago Public Library at the Obama Presidential Center.

When finished, the 5,000-square-foot library will allow residents and visitors to explore their interests through multimedia collections and flexible-use spaces for studying, reading, community programming, and events. The library also will have a special children's area and will provide YOUmedia programing for teens that combines mentorship with traditional media and new technology to help them explore their creativity and identity.

Over the past ten years, the Chicago-based foundation has invested $200 million in research, design experiments, and demonstrations to understand how young people use digital media to learn and the implications for how learning can be designed and supported to ensure equitable access to opportunities. Those efforts led to the creation of YOUmedia, which was launched at CPL and has been replicated in two dozen libraries and museums around the country.

"The new branch library at the OPC will provide a space for community residents of all ages to gather, share, learn, and succeed," said CPL commissioner Brian Bannon. "From investments in CPL's YOUmedia program for teens, to support [for] Chicago Public Library's overall strategy development...and now this investment in the first-ever public library in a presidential center, MacArthur has played a key role in shaping the vision of an innovative twenty-first-century library."

"A public library is an essential civic institution, a place for communities to gather and for individuals to learn about themselves and other people," said MacArthur Foundation president Julia Stasch. "Embedding a public library branch in the Obama Presidential Center will connect Chicago residents and visitors, especially youth, to each other and to a world of imagination and information. President Obama encourages us all to be informed civic leaders, dedicating our collective talents to making our communities, our nation, and the world better, as he has done."

"MacArthur Provides $5 Million for Chicago Public Library Branch at Obama Presidential Center." John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Press Release 06/03/2019.