This is the library for the area where we live now. The photo doesn't do it justice. It has a lodge feel, and it's landscaped like a little woodland. The main walkway goes through a stand of young birches on the right and a pond with native grasses on the left. At least, I think there's a pond. I haven't seen it without snow yet.
I had hoped to take pictures inside today, but it was full of patrons and I didn't want to get kicked out. Who knew there would be so many people there on a Thursday afternoon.
Anyway, it is more like a bookstore than a library. There is a central cafe, with coffee and snack machines and really cool tables with famous quotations lettered around the edges. There is even a player piano, of all things, in the center.
Further back is a free-standing stone fireplace with cozy chairs and a bank of windows overlooking another garden. The kids' area has stylized wooden trees that branch out as they approach the ceiling and lots of soft floor pillows to curl up in.
It's a beautiful, enticing place to be, but ... none of the shelves are over five feet tall and all the books are new, with heavy emphasis on how-to's and best sellers. I find this disturbing. There are no quiet, secluded stacks, no old favorites, no obscure authors, no mysterious tomes in leather bindings. There's no library-book smell, either.
And get this: You check yourself out by placing your own selections on a scanner, and when you're done you get a paper receipt for the lot of them. There's no librarian to chat with about the books you've chosen or to recommend similar authors, no stamping of the little card that tells you when each book is due. All you get is robotic chimes and an onscreen thank-you.
Don't get me wrong, I do love the place. But the experience is like eating unscented, salt-free popcorn out of a plastic bag. It's fun, colorful, and efficient, but it lacks the essence of history, awe, and humanity that should dwell in the very air of a library.
Of course, I still miss the card catalogue, too. Maybe I'm just getting old.
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