“The Carl B. Roden Branch of the Chicago Public Library” by S.M. O’Connor

The Carl B. Roden Branch of the Chicago Public Library, located on Northwest Highway in Norwood Park (Community Area #10), is named after the longest-serving Chief Librarian of the Chicago Public Library.  It is situated in the middle of a block on the north side of Northwest Highway between Raven Street to the west and Newark Avenue.  [There are two branches of the Chicago Public Library in Norwood Park on the Far North Side (or Northwest Side) of Chicago: Roden and Oriole Park.] The address places it in the neighborhood of Norwood Park East, but only a few feet from the boundary with the neighborhood of Old Norwood Park.

The Roden Branch Library is about one block northwest of the Norwood Park Metra Station.  It is also very close to a firehouse.

As there are no Chicago Public Library (C.P.L.) branches in Edison Park, and the Roden Branch of the C.P.L. is in the northern part of Norwood Park, it is the closet C.P.L. branch for Edison Park residents.

Previously, the Roden Branch Library had been located in a series of storefronts, dating back to 1950. The Carl B. Roden Branch was the twenty-fifth branch of the Chicago Public Library. The current branch opened on September 16, 1968.

It was named in honor of Carl Bismarck Roden (1871-1956) who served as Chief Librarian of the Chicago Public Library from 1918 to 1950. Carl B. Roden began work as a Library Page in 1886 and was a lifelong resident of Norwood Park.  He worked his way up the ranks to become chief of catalog division. Though he never practiced law, Roden graduated from law school and was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1891. He was appointed chief librarian in 1918.  During his administration, the CPL’s branch library system increased 50%; the staff more than doubled; the book stock increased threefold; circulation doubled; and total expenditures rose more than 400%. Under his leadership, the Chicago Public Library System became the largest circulating library in the world. Upon his retirement in 1950, Roden took on the task of writing the biography of Dr. William F. Poole (1821-1894), the first Librarian of, successively, the Chicago Public Library and The Newberry Library.

The Community Meeting Room can hold up to sixty people.   One can apply to book the room up to three months before the event, but not less than seven days before the event.  The branch manager must approve the event.  An applicant will be notified whether or not his or her application has been approved within three days.

In the recent past, the Roden Branch Library was open from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Mondays, from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Wednesdays, from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Fridays, and from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays.  Like other branch libraries, it was closed on Sundays.  Now, the Roden Branch Library is closed on Sundays and open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

The address is 6083 North Northwest Highway in Chicago, Illinois 60631.  The phone number there is (312) 744-1478.

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