Visitors to Chicago's stately home for the humanities should come prepared for serious business.. In Short Most people need several hours--or longer--just to scratch the surface of the Newberry Library's vast collection, a well-known magnet for genealogists. Green-shaded lamps, warm wood and near-absolute quiet underscore the no-nonsense atmosphere. With the exception of monthly children's programming, admission is limited to those who are at least 16 years old. The library has extensive holdings on the history and culture of Western Europe (Middle Ages to the mid-20th century) and American history dating from the early explorers' initial contact with Native Americans through the present.