My New Library

Wednesday, June 10, 2015 | 0 Comment(s)

My new library is much more grand than the last one.  It exceeds its predecessor in both stories and stories.  The carpeted floors creak like the hallway of your family's house.  The wooden panels giving way in sound rather than in movement to the countless footsteps of history that pitter-patter and click-clack unaware upon the threadbare oriental rug.  

Constructed in 1896, this postcard is dated "Aug 29, 1906"
My new library smells like the cumulative human experience; like a mold problem that was discovered and taken care of.  The wood banisters in the stairwell slide across my fingers as if they came from the past and will carry up up up into the future.  There are books, of course.  But the books are merely wallpaper towards a greater end. A marketplace of realness where you can find free internet and chairs to sit in. We are all equals at the library, all they ask is that you stay within the boundaries of polite etiquette.

Upstairs at the new library is like a refinished attic, the bright sheen of the creamsicle floorboards juxtapose the dark worn finish of the original building.  Everything new brings light into the space. A central room of windows, the crown jewel of the renovations, reflects the sunset yellow of impossibly high walls – designed to hold equally immense 8-panel windows.  Local artists of all levels maintain an active rotation in a doublewide hallway repurposed into an art gallery. And if pressed, I will admit that they have quite an impressive catalog of graphic novels available on the upper level.

Main Help Desk, Ground Level
Downstairs in the basement is where the wild things are. Children of all shapes, sizes, and colors – dressed and superheroes and dinosaurs and Dora the Explorer – tackle puzzles made of words, wood, and wool.  The absorption of information and expulsion of imagination happens at such a rapid pace that noise is the inevitable remainder.  When it rains I often use the side exit downstairs and must stomp through this young jungle teaming with growth in a race to the life-giving sun.  I put up my hood.

My new library is regal like the Dame of an ancient house. I stand before her, not she before me.  Her grace and composure is unnerving.  It is difficult to impress a woman who has seen it all before.  Better to bow graciously and accept the gift of her company.  The library is most generous with her wind at your back, providing rooted physicality to those characters embroiled in the existence of finding purpose through voice.

My new library is a funnel for creation.  An hourglass, where discovery is compressed to a single grain of the present, before cascading into the heap of everything we believe we already know.  I believe I will like here, just so.

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