Blackstone Library celebrates 75th anniversary of children’s space

Ald. Will Burns (4th) cuts a piece of cake for Syann Carcamo during the 75th anniversary celebration for the children’s annex of the Blackstone Library, 4904 S. Lake Park Ave.

Ald. Will Burns (4th) cuts a piece of cake for Syann Carcamo during the 75th anniversary celebration for the children’s annex of the Blackstone Library, 4904 S. Lake Park Ave.

By DASCHELL M. PHILLIPS
Staff Writer

The Children’s Library annex of the Chicago Public Library Blackstone Branch celebrated its 75th anniversary June 28 in conjunction with the library’s 110th anniversary celebration.

Ald. Will Burns (4th) celebrated with the Children’s annex by reading stories to the children in attendance and inviting them to help him cut the anniversary cake, said Tina Carter, children’s librarian at Blackstone, 4904 S. Lake Park Ave.
Carter said the children’s annex was built in 1939 with a Works Progress Administration government grant.

“This was during the great depression so it created an opportunity for people to have jobs and also established a place of learning for kids,” Carter said.

Renovations were made to the space in the 1980s, bookshelves and computers were added and the children’s librarian position was created. More recent upgrades include Wi-Fi and a recreation space for learning through play.

In January, the library celebrated 110 years.

The Blackstone Library is the city’s first library branch and the only branch of the 79-branch Chicago Public Library branch system that was constructed using private funding.

The building, which was designed by Chicago architect Solon S. Beman, was dedicated to the city in January 1904 by Isabella Norton Blackstone who carried out the wishes of her husband railroad and stockyard president Timothy Beach Blackstone, who donated the property for the construction of the library after his death.

In January the library celebrated with presentations of the history of the library and tours of the building and discussions about its architecture.

Architectural features of the library include a Tiffany style dome; marble columns and walls in the rotunda and foyer; four overhead rotunda murals painted by Oliver Dennett Grover, who was a mural painter for the World Columbian Exposition; square Italian marble mosaic flooring and bronze and mahogony custom-designed furnishings.

d.phillips@hpherald.com