Something about clean carpets, stiff book covers and still-shiny furniture makes even homework seem appealing. Opened in fall 2006, the Bucktown branch of Chicago Public Libraries has all that and more. It's a smallish building as far as libraries go, so although there's a healthy selection of multimedia and books, not every title you're looking for will be on the shelves. The staff will happily order your materials in from other branches.
The real gem is the sunny facility, which you'll find equipped with most of what you need to get your work done. There are nearly 30 Internet-enabled computers, six of them specially designated for kids under 13. Laptop-toters are welcome to log into the Chicago Public Library free wireless network. When it's really time to buckle down, check out the reading room upstairs, where you can park at one of several long tables and enjoy the kind of blissful silence that only exists in a library.
Scan the message board or give a call to check about the library's plentiful community programs, which include a monthly book discussion group for teens and free homework help Monday through Thursday from 3:30-6:30 p.m. The library is particularly family-friendly, with a kids' reading room on the first floor sporting tiny-size tables and chairs.
Centerstage Reviewer: Julia Steinberger