$5M grant to pay for Chicago library branch at Obama center

CHICAGO — The MacArthur Foundation plans a $5 million grant to create a new Chicago Public Library branch at the Obama Presidential Center.

The Chicago-based nonprofit made the announcement Monday, saying the money will help pay for construction at the planned site of former President Barack Obama’s $500 million presidential center in Jackson Park on Chicago’s South Side. The 5,000-square-foot public library will house multimedia collections, have community programs, a children’s area and offer space for reading and studying.

MacArthur President Julia Stasch says housing a public library branch in the presidential center will connect Chicago residents and visitors “to each other and to a world of imagination and information.”

The center was originally slated to open in 2021, though ground hasn’t yet broken because of litigation over the use of public parkland.

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