“Libraries have always served as the foundation of healthy, thriving communities where residents can gather and engage in accessible, enriching activities,” says Curt Bailey, President of Related Midwest. “We are extremely proud to bring the Little Italy Branch Library and Taylor Street Apartments to the Near West Side – providing quality mixed-income housing featuring floor to ceiling windows with unique views of the city, modern finishes, and state-of-the-art amenities including a fitness center and recreation deck. The synergy between affordable, accessible housing and a beacon of education will allow families to continue to thrive.”
Staggered on the site along West Taylor and Ada Streets, the Taylor Street Apartments, opening in March, will include 73 apartments, including 37 CHA units, 29 affordable units and seven market rate units.
“Chicago is breaking the mold and uniting the strengths of our neighborhood libraries with great housing that is affordable and accessible,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Bringing together world-class libraries together with housing builds strong neighborhoods and provides a place for all community residents to gather, share and succeed.”
The Little Italy Branch Library will offer additional programs and services to meet the need of Little Italy’s residents. The library will offer an Early Learning Play Space, designed to support parents and caregivers in developing their child’s early literacy skills through play; a YOUmedia space for teens to explore digital design, music and recording, technology, 3D and 2D making and more with the help of skilled mentors; and dedicated workforce development support and technology tutors called CyberNavigators for adults hoping to learn basic computer skills or apply for a job online.
“We know how essential our libraries are to the communities of Chicago as neighborhood anchors,”
said Chicago Public Library Commissioner Brian Bannon. “Thanks to Mayor Emanuel’s vision, our partnership with CHA, and the creativity of renowned designers, we’re able to provide our awardwinning programs inside innovative spaces that reflect the vibrancy of the communities we serve.”
CPL will continue to partner with expert workforce organizations to deliver trainings on additional skills, such as resume writing, interview prep and industry-specific skills. Little Italy Branch Library will also have traditional library programs, such as book clubs for seniors and intergenerational educational and cultural programming.
"The Taylor Street Apartments and Little Italy Branch Library will together provide a vital community anchor where children and families go to read, learn, discover, and explore,” said
Alderman Jason C. Ervin, 28th Ward. “This investment will provide our residents with the safe learning and gathering spaces that the children and families of Chicago deserve.”
“We are pleased to see the new library and all it offers the community,” said CHA CEO Eugene E. Jones, Jr. “We are looking forward to the opening of the apartments soon, and know that our investment in these innovative developments will serve neighborhood residents well for years to come.”
“We’re excited to have collaborated with the Chicago Public Library and Chicago Housing Authority on this innovative co-located project—one of the nation’s first—on Chicago’s Near West Side. Bringing these two vital civic services together as one project created a tremendous opportunity to think about how a learning and social center could be integrated with housing to contribute holistically to the community,” said Brian Lee, Design
Partner at SOM. “As the third Chicago Public Library Branch we have designed since 2015, the Little Italy Branch draws from ideas and lessons learned in designing the Chinatown and West Loop Branches, and serves as a continuation of our community-driven approach to creating a positive impact in our neighborhoods.”