1. Home
  2. Programs & Initiatives
  3. Poetry Foundation Library

Poetry Foundation Library


11 a.m.–4 p.m.

Special Extended Hours:
Saturday, September 17, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Saturday, October 22, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Please Note:
In observance of Labor Day, the library will be closed at 1 p.m. on Friday September 2, and reopen on Tuesday, September 6 at 11 a.m. The Poetry Foundation will be closed for building maintenance on the following dates: September 16, 21, and 22.

About the Library

The Midwest's only library dedicated exclusively to poetry, the Poetry Foundation Library exists to promote the reading of poetry in the general public, and to support the editorial needs of all Poetry Foundation programs and staff. Visitors to the library may browse a collection of 30,000 volumes, experience audio and video recordings in private listening booths, and view exhibits of poetry related materials. In addition to providing public access to its collections in the form of a reading room, the library creates interactive programs to inspire a wider readership for poetry in readers of all ages. Learn more about using the library.

The Collection

The origins of the library are in the working collection of Poetry magazine, amassed during its nearly one hundred year history. Titles originally sent to the magazine for review or collected to serve editorial needs now comprise a distinctive collection of the poetry of the past century.

The library's current collection aims to present the best poetry, in English or in translation, of the modern and contemporary era, as well as including representative selections of the major poetic works of all eras.

The collection contains individual author monographs, anthologies, journals, rare and limited editions, broadsides, chapbooks, criticism, and prose works by poets. Audio archives include restored recordings of poets, like Gwendolyn Brooks and Czeslaw Milosz, reading their own work. Dating back to the 1950s, these archival recordings are available as a result of a unique partnership between the Poetry Foundation and Chicago's WFMT-FM.

Search the collection »

Accessing Titles in Special Collections

Field Trips

The library welcomes K-12 class visits on weekdays. During the field trips, students participate in interactive activities that enhance their understanding of poetry. The library also provides interactive, guided visits for adult groups. To schedule a field trip or group visit, please contact the librarian at library@poetryfoundation.org.


Monday–Friday 11 a.m.–4 p.m.


To contact the librarian, please email library@poetryfoundation.org or call 312.799.8057

Other Information

  • Browse Poems