This year, the Chicago Public Library, Chinatown Branch was awarded the Louis Sullivan Award by the Illinois Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Illinois). A special design award selected directly by the jury, rather than by nomination, the Sullivan Award is the highest state honor for design. The award recognizes transformational projects.
Since opening in late August 2015, the library has quickly become a new destination in Chicago's Chinatown neighborhood. The facility it replaced was the most visited library branch in the Chicago Public Library system, and the new branch is maintaining this distinction. From September through December 2015, more than 95,000 visitors checked out nearly 55,500 items. Compared to the same time period in 2014, these numbers reflect an increase of more than 20,000 visitors and 23,000 items. Various events take place at the Chinatown library, including tai chi, financial advice workshops, U.S. citizenship application assistance, arts and crafts, Chinese-English story time, an engineering club, English and Chinese classes, a writers' workshop, and Cantonese opera.
The 2017 AIA Illinois jury recognized the Chinatown Branch of the Chicago Public Library for providing a much-needed public gathering place geared toward inclusive community activities and technology-based learning, while serving as a new civic, educational, and social hub for Chicago’s Chinatown neighborhood.