Another in our very sentimental (in a good way!) series, Libraries We Love. Here's asking readers far and wide, near and far to send us tales of your libraries, your librarians, and all the fun that's been had, and we'll do our best to post them. And send us a picture!
I must say, I couldn't have (or maybe I could have, but I didn't) predicted how sweet and melancholy it would make me reading everyone's beautiful reminiscences of their beloved libraries. It's entirely clear how meaningful they have been to people, and somehow juxtaposing that with all the cuts in funding and the librarians losing their jobs, it almost hurts a bit to read about how big a role they have played in the lives of so many readers. One hopes they are able to continue to do so. But for all the bitter-sweetness, they are very moving. This week's well-loved library comes to us from reader Anne.
My favorite library in the entire world is the St. Anthony Park Branch library in St. Paul, Minnesota. It was three blocks away from my house growing up and I spent hours there. It is one big room with huge arched windows divided into four sections. The children's area was roughly in the southwest corner and I still have a mental map of where all of my favorite books were shelved (for example "The Egypt Game" was on the west wall, three shelves up, directly above the Streatfields). In classic library world logic there were no Nancy Drews but there were Boxcar Children. You could take out as many books as you wanted and then walk up the street to College Park and settle in under a stand of lilacs and pick the best one from your pile.
I have a poster in my living room commemorating the 100th anniversary of the library – it says it is one of the last of the Carnegie libraries (wasn't Betsy's library a Carnegie library?).
And I have a picture because I use it as my screen saver even now.
Note: Reader Anne also gives a shoutout to her current neighborhood library Sulzer Regional in the Lincoln Square area of Chicago, as one of the few newly built library buildings that hold on to that "old library" warmth. But there's nothing like your first love.
So send us your libraries! And tell Anne how excellent hers seems in the comments!