Obama Foundation Annual Report 2018

Rendering of Chicago Library in The Obama Presidential Center

The Chicago Public Library

We’ve partnered with the Chicago Public Library to bring a new, 5,000-square-foot branch to Jackson Park, offering specialized programs and events for children, and spaces to learn and create for everyone.

The new branch of the Chicago Public Library will also include the President’s Reading Room, which will serve as an extension of the Obama Presidential Center Museum experience. The President’s Reading Room will provide visitors with a relaxing yet inspiring place to read. It will offer small exhibits focused on the importance of literacy, education, and community service, and feature a special collection of books that are meaningful to President and Mrs. Obama.

Obama Presidential Center Building rendering

The Plaza and Park

At the heart of the Obama Presidential Center will be a public plaza that serves as a place for the Foundation and our neighbors to host informal and planned gatherings alike. It will feature public artwork and host outdoor performances, farmers markets, and fairs.

A nearby park will offer play areas, walking paths, and a sledding hill, all connected by a long pedestrian promenade that joins the Center to Jackson Park and runs alongside its beautiful and historic lagoons.

Program, Athletic, and Activity Center

It wouldn’t be the Obama Presidential Center without a place to shoot some hoops. The fourth main building on the campus will be the Program, Athletic, and Activity Center. The facility will be a home for recreation, community programming, and events.

With our largest indoor gathering space, the Program, Athletic, and Activity Center will be a place for pickup games, rec leagues, dance classes, senior yoga, volleyball tournaments, and aerobic fitness classes. But it won’t just be a place to get your heart pumping. It will also offer camps and trainings that teach young people the importance of teamwork, determination, and sportsmanship—skills that serve any future leader well. And it will also host large events and programs that emphasize the importance of community engagement and leadership.

Fruit and Vegetable Garden and Teaching Kitchen

Paying homage to Mrs. Obama’s garden from the White House, we’ll have a Fruit and Vegetable Garden showcasing local produce and active beehives. We’ll also have a teaching kitchen and classroom integrated into the garden that will enable us to offer demonstrations and hands-on classes for our neighbors on topics like planting, harvesting, and cooking from home gardens. The Garden classroom will also provide ideal space for school field trips to introduce kids to healthy eating, the environment, and the importance of pollinators.

Children's Play Area and Great Lawn

The Children’s Play Area and Great Lawn will be the park we all wish we had grown up near. It’ll have a giant playground with innovative, imaginative play equipment for children and seating for adults to relax. It’s a place for sledding in the winter and picnics in the summer. And it will be the perfect place to get a view of Jackson Park’s beautiful lagoons year-round.

Obama Presidential Center: The Forum Obama Presidential Center: History