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The Obama Presidential Center and Library Breaking Ground This Year

Ann-Marie Cahill


Ann-Marie Cahill will read anything and everything. From novels to trading cards to the inside of CD covers (they’re still a thing, right?). A good day is when her kids bring notes home from school. A bad day is when she has to pry a book from her kids’ hands. And then realizes where they get it from. The only thing Ann-Marie loves more than reading is travelling. She has expensive hobbies.

It’s been a long time reaching this point but it is finally happening. The Barack Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park, Chicago, will start pre-construction work in April 2021. 

Chicago’s South Side has been waiting in eager anticipation for this amazing centre. The Center is more like a campus. This includes a Chicago Public Library branch, a museum, a venue for events and athletic activities, a forum for office space, and additional outdoor space. All of this will be included within a 235-foot stone-sheathed tower. You can learn more about the proposed design on the official Obama Foundation website here.

The Obama Presidential Center was initially proposed in 2016 with its current form and location. Jackson Park already houses the Museum of Science and Industry and a golf course along as well as its own historical significance. Consequently, the proposal has been subject to a federal review since November 2017. Now the review is complete, preliminary work will take place in April 2021 with the actual construction to commence in the Fall.

The library is a standout feature for the South Side community. In the spirit of modern libraries, this new branch will include digital media spaces and amenities especially designed for children. It will also provide vocational resources for adults and venues for special events to bring the community together. The surrounding areas and rooftop will have green space, including community plots for fruit and vegetable–just like the garden Former First Lady Michelle Obama planted at the White House. 

This is everything we already know libraries can be (and often are). The Obama Presidential Center looks to be a hub for the community, with services and resources provided for the people and by the people.

To learn even more about the Obama Presidential Center, check out these 6 things to know about the project.