Musings: National Library Week

Today’s topic is: “National Library Week starts tomorrow. How will you celebrate your library?”

I’ve always believed that there is something truly magical about libraries. Every library contains an incredible amount of information, wisdom, sorrow, heroism, joy, mystery, and love. All of those books, if we choose to explore them, can transform our thinking, our feelings, and the path of our lives.

National Library Week April 10-16, 2016

As you know, I love my local library. The librarians who work there are exceptional. They greet us by name the moment we walk in the door. (And remember when one of them walked to the grocery store to hand-deliver a book I had requested?!) Even though it is a small library, there are three monthly book club groups, three storytimes every week, and a ton of guest speakers. My girls look forward to borrowing Dora the Explorer and Go Diego Go movies each week. My husband has gotten us hooked on old episodes of Grizzly Adams and I love that I can request practically any title through their extensive interlibrary loan system. Earlier this spring, I even used my library card to sign up for a free beginner’s writers class online, offered by GALE Courses. It honestly has everything we could ever want!

Yet, our practically-perfect-in-every-way library is going through a transformation of its own. A brand new library building is being constructed (with a fancy dome roof) and they expect to be moving in later this summer! I can’t wait to see how they are going to use all the space!

Kasson Public Library

Final Floor plan Kasson Library

 

My love of libraries goes way back. In high school, I was lucky enough to work at the Phoenix Public Library (after I quit the perfume counter at Ross Dress for Less). During my first year of college, my work-study job was at St. Olaf’s Rolvaag Library.

 

But my childhood library will always be my favorite. My first eleven years were spent in a small town with the most beautiful collection of stacks I’ve ever seen. The St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, built in 1871, is part library and part art museum. It reminds me of the set from The Music Man; I half expect Robert Preston to start serenading me when I walk in, as Shirley Jones shushes him from behind the desk. I can’t wait to take my husband and children to my hometown so they can experience this amazing place too.

 

While we’re at it, here are a few more gorgeous collections that are on my bucket list.

The St. Florian Monastery library in Austria…

St. Florian Monastery-Library, Austria

The State Capitol Law Library in Iowa…

iowalibrary

And of course, the Library of Congress…

Library of Congress

I’m always sad to hear about libraries closing. Here is the former main library in Cincinnati, which closed in 1955. How I would have loved to have visited there!

Main library in Cincinnati, closed in 1955

 

Where is your favorite library? Share in the comments.

~ Phoebe DeCook

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