The Pritzker Military Museum and Library might be the most surprising library I visited in Chicago. The library is a bit hard to find, since it shares a building with downtown offices and businesses, but once you locate the door, you enter into an amazing hallway that leads the way (after some stairs/elevators) to the library.
One thing worth noting here is that the library is not free. There is a $5 admission charge for visitors who are not members or active military personnel.
After paying the entrance fee (which as you know from previous posts I was loathe to do – my belief in libraries as public institutions and all that) I was able to enter into the library and was immediately struck by the lovely space and amazing view.
If I had more time, I could have spent the whole day reading, studying, and taking in the view in this lovely and hushed study area. Unfortunately (or fortunately), there was too much to see!
Perhaps to coincide with the American Library Association conference, the library had a large collection of military prints supporting reading and libraries on display:
There was also a display featuring propaganda materials used to encourage women’s participation in the war effort:
In addition to these and other displays of primary materials, the library also maintains a collection of current military periodicals and military reference materials.
More than the space or the collections (military history is of little interest to me), though, I was impressed by the friendliness and dedication of the librarians who took time out of their busy schedule to explain the collection and the library’s place among international military libraries to me, a complete stranger with no good reason for visiting. Definitely $5 well spent!
For more information about the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, visit www.pritzkermilitary.org