I love libraries. When I was a student at the University of Illinois years ago, I worked at the library to help support myself through school. I remember pushing my shelving cart through the crowded aisles and wishing I could have a book in a library someday.
I’m so thankful that dream has come true.
Recently, I went to a new-to-me library with fellow writers Gail Helgeson, Stacy Monson, Julie Saffrin, and Anna Paulson. We are a few members of the Minnesota chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. Instead of our regular July meeting, we planned a “field trip,” as we have the last few summers. This year Gail planned a tour of the Minneapolis Central Library of the Hennepin County Library System. The Central Library is one of the largest public libraries in the state—and in the country. It covers two blocks, five stories, and over 400,000 square feet plus an underground parking garage. It is actually two buildings or “wings” joined by a beautiful glass atrium. The library boasts 2.5 million items, 300 computers for public use, four fireplaces, and a grand piano in a soundproof room. It even has a partial “green roof” planted with ground cover for energy efficiency. As we followed our knowledgeable tour guide through the complex, we were happily surrounded by creative book displays, map drawers, compact shelving units, and special collections I would love to return to and explore.
Of the 2.5 million items in their impressive collection, three of them were books I’d written. 🙂 And after we looked in the Ks, we had fun searching out books by our writer-friends. Some of whom, like Beverly Lewis, had whole shelves devoted to their books.
The library was crowded that afternoon, with a colorful collection of characters (ourselves included) busy at computer terminals, study rooms, and in meeting rooms. And even though printed books appeared to take second place to electronic forms of information and entertainment, it seemed clear to us that the adapting public library system is alive and well.
Do you love libraries, too? When was the last time you visited one—local or otherwise?