The Barack Obama Foundation selected the University of Illinois at Chicago and North Lawndale as one of four finalists to host the library and museum after reviewing our qualifications and three proposed sites. UIC must submit its response to the Foundation’s request for proposals for the library and museum by December 11. In our original proposal, we re-imagined what a presidential library can become, asking not simply where the Library could go, but rather what it can do.
We present three potential sites corresponding to three rings emanating from the Chicago Circle Interchange, and centerpoint of the 1909 Burnham Plan of Chicago, due west of the city proper. The specific sites on this historic axis are respectively identified with the academic campus of UIC; the medical campus of UIC; and a site made available through our community partner, the neighborhood of North Lawndale.
These three signature locations are emblematic of the various stories that the Library will be able to tell about imagination, engagement, and broad access to the resources of well-being and growth that a healthy democracy requires.
In each instance, these are eminent “gateway” sites: to the historic east campus, to the west campus and Illinois Medical District, and at the interface between Chicago, the western suburbs and beyond. The energy of the city enters the Library and the knowledge and discourse instigated within the Library moves out.
A young university and young president embody the edifying spirit that constitutes a shared destiny of transformation.