We collect, preserve, and provide access to community media in order to inspire and celebrate everyone's cultural contributions.
Read/Write Library is the only library of its kind in the world and seeks to be a model for other cities to leverage their own media as a tool to recognize their residents' power and expertise in shaping local histories.
Unlike a traditional read-only library, we encourage contributions, whether community newspapers, self-published chapbooks by young poets, or art books by tenured professors, making cultural participation more transparent and accessible.
Through our public programs and free browsing hours, growing collection of over 6,000 publications, and open source catalog, the library strives to raise the visibility of work produced by Chicagoans of all backgrounds to reveal connective threads across neighborhoods, generations, and cultures and to encourage inquiry into and ownership of the historical record.
We recognize the contributions that all community members make to co-creating a city and believe that learning to value them plays a vital role in building empathy, community pride, and the ability to see oneself as a change agent.