“The Avalon Branch of the Chicago Public Library” by S.M. O’Connor

The Avalon Branch of the Chicago Public Library is located on Stoney Island Avenue, at the northwest corner of Stony Island Avenue and 82nd Street, in Avalon Park (Community Area #45) on the South Side of Chicago.  It serves Avalon Park; Calumet Heights (Community Area #48); Burnside (Community #47); Chatham (Community Area #44); Greater Grand Crossing (Community Area #69); South Shore (Community Area #43); South Chicago (Community Area #46); and Jeffery Manor, a neighborhood in South Deering (Community Area #51).

The library is one block northwest of Faith Tabernacle Baptist Church and a few blocks northeast of the Chicago Park District’s Avalon Park.  The Avalon Branch Library opened in a 14,000-square-foot dedicated library building on Tuesday, March 7, 2006.  This is a new iteration of a branch library that first opened in 1928 in the community house of the Avalon Park Church at 81st Street and Dante Avenue.  The previous iteration occupied a smaller facility, a rented storefront at 8828 South Stony Island Avenue.

The Public Building Commission of Chicago (P.B.C.) oversaw the design and construction of the Avalon Branch Library for the Chicago Public Library.  Urban Works, Ltd. is the Architect of Record.  The firm stated, “Concentric designs and patterns were integrated to conceptually represent the ripple effect of learning, while calming blue and green tones were used to design a positive learning environment.”

Architectural features of the new red brick library building include cathedral ceilings and clerestory windows. The original clerestory mural was funded by the City of Chicago Public Art Program under the Percent for Art Ordinance.  It also funded the sculpture Current by Barbara Cooper and a (digital) photo collage by Stephen Marc.

The Avalon Branch Library was erected with environmentally sustainable construction methods. This was done in accordance with the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System.

It opened with a $400,000 collection of books and other materials.  When I first wrote about the Avalon Branch Library (for Examiner.com Chicago) in 2010, the featured collection was African American Genealogy.

There are two meetings rooms that can each accommodate forty people, but they can be combined to accommodate around 100 people.  Groups that need to book both rooms simultaneously to accommodate over forty people need to contact the branch manager for approval.  Combined, the two rooms have twelve tables, eighty chairs, and a lectern with a microphone.  The West Meeting Room has a screen.  One can apply to book the room up to three months before the event, but not less than seven days before the event.  The branch manager must approve the event.  An applicant will be notified whether or not his or her application has been approved within three days.  Groups that book a room or both rooms combined are responsible for setup and takedown.

The Avalon Branch Library is closed on Sundays.  It is open from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

The address is 8148 South Stony Island Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60617.  The phone number there is (312) 747-5234.

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