Wednesday, September 5, 2007

libraries (cont.)

My family often chides me that I make my posts "so long that no one will read them," but I was not finished with all I had to say about libraries.

Although my heart will always belong to the old library on Third Street, I do love libraries in general. For eleven years while Tom and Julie were growing up, I worked in the square, brick box the library re-located to in 1968, when the old one was torn down. The library had followed the YMCA to the wealthier north side of town from their central locations near the town square. The YMCA closed its doors several years ago, and the library has long since outgrown the small lot it occupies, so I can't think the city planners were very forward-thinking, but that's often the way of things.

On the vacations we took when the kids were younger, we often stopped at local public libraries in the places we visited. We have been in a small branch of the Morgantown, West Virginia library, near where my sister-in-law and her family used to live. We have been to the small Chincoteague, Virginia library on Main Street, and on days that it rained, we left Chincoteague, and visited some of the libraries farther south on the Eastern Shore. We have been to the library near Ben's parents' house in Tampa. (If I am forgetting any, you guys just jump right in and tell me.)

More recently, we have been to the Harold Washington Public Library in downtown Chicago, and Julie took me to the very nice Bel Air, Maryland library, where she and Andrew now live. Tom and Kristy live right next door to a library, just like Ben and I did when we were first married, although I am sorry to say I did not find time to stop in there when I was in Chicago last year. Next time for sure.

There are other libraries I have missed seeing, as well, and I regret that. I never went to the library when I was in New York City, and I have never been to the Library of Congress. I would love to go there and request the book we wrote, which I know is there, because I have searched for it on line. If Las Vegas has a public library - and I assume that they do - it would have been fun to see what that looked like.

Well, perhaps tomorrow, we will examine university and college libraries. Who knows?


Julie said...

i love that chincoteague has its own library, and i remember fondly that off-island trip down the eastern shore when we visited all the little libraries along the way.

being near to the library really does seem important to where one lives, although i hadn't realized it might be a priority for me. in elyria, we were close enough to bike to the library (not that we did it too often), and in kent we're definitely close enough to walk to the free library (not that we've done it at all). andrew's and my apartment here in bel air is also near enough to walk to, and andrew's done it many times.

i don't know if you're going to address college libraries in a later post, but i think those are the only ones you've left off the list of ones you've visited. probably you were in the LCCC library some time (i remember how in awe i was of it when dad used to take us there), and i know for a fact that you've spent time in Alden Library at OU and in Morris Library at UD. :)

Ben said...

Cleveland Public Library was pretty memorable. We'd walk from Tower City and Public Square towards the Arcade, remember? Then we'd cut through the Arcade and come out at the Library. It was a grandiose and institutional building (many steps and columns). I liked the high ceilings and the narrow mezzanine level packed with books, where you could look down onto the massive lobby. Very bright and airy with many large potted plants.

Then there was that little library in New Philadelphia, Ohio. We stopped there in desperation, looking for directions to a postcard show in nearby Dover. The library (and librarian) were quite charming.

Finally, a quick shout out to my childhood library in South Euclid on Mayfield Road. A cool cool haven that I could ride my bike to on hot summer days. There was a nice little atrium in there, with iron patio furniture, many windows, many plants, a burbling fountain, and much quiet.

anne mancine said...

Ah-hah! Let me pounce on that last word of yours, Ben - quiet.

That is something that is surely lost from contemporary libraries. It is believed that the patrons' rights are in some way violated if they can't act up and act out any old way they chose.

And that is really sad.

Kristy said...

For the record, I truly Heart (<3) your longer posts (well I heart all of them, but you seem to be more thorough in your longer posts. a good woman. and thorough), so I'm not sure which of your family members is telling you that no one reads your longer posts. You should probably just tell them, and since we're talking about libraries, "SHHHHH!!!"

Unfortunately, as with many libraries, funding cuts have reduced hours and thus makes it seriously inconvenient to get to the library. I love to go study in the library near us, but I can only be there for 4 hours on saturday and sunday - and that's if I get up on time. I really wished their wireless worked a little faster than molasses too. That's what kills because it is especially beautiful, bright and airy with large windows, in there.

anne mancine said...

Thank you, Kristy. See, you guys, some people in the family appreciate my thorough posts. (You sounded just like Maude when you said that, Kristy.)

Julie said...

i DO remember the huge downtown cleveland public library, and cutting through the arcade (which was awesome). we even went to that library a couple times for school field trips, although i have no idea how we were supposed to get meaningful research done in the two hours or so they left us there!

tom and i went in the mayfield road library once with dad, and i can testify to its being really pretty and peaceful. that gardeny atrium struck me at the time as victorian or something, but now when i think about it it reminds me more of that old greenhouse we went to in cleveland.

the whole cutting of hours and low funding thing sucks, and i didn't realize it was a problem until only recently. this summer when andrew was at that workshop at columbia, there was a branch of the new york city public library in his neighborhood, which i encouraged him to patronize whenever he could. "whenever he could" turned out not to be very often, because the place had ridiculous hours! it was open maybe 3 days a week, usually for only part of a day. doesn't do much good to have libraries in urban areas if they're kept closed and locked most of the time!