Libraries. Are. The. Best.
I love libraries! Some of my earliest memories are of going to the library for storytime or the summer reading program in Piqua. I love reading and the best place to get new material to read (or books to reread) is the library. Everywhere that I’ve lived I’ve had a library card. For me, that’s eight library cards!
For a wonderful period of eight glorious months – I worked at a library! ? Shout out to my favorite library ladies at the Miami Township Branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County – you rock! ?
Since I love libraries – I was stoked to be invited to the Media Preview of the re-opening of the Main Library of the Columbus Metropolitan Library! When I lived in Columbus I frequented this library and a few other branches often.
I started reading my #1 favorite series: The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith while a patron of the Columbus library. I also borrowed a ton of educational materials for work. I’d request as many books on a topic as I could find online, then wait for them all to arrive and go pick them up in one fell swoop. I’d almost instantly regret requesting that many books at once, though, because I had to carry them to my car and then up to my apartment or to my desk at work. #booknerdproblems
The Media Preview was held last week, just a few days before the library’s grand reopening this past Saturday, June 25th. After a quick introduction, and a request to share our photos and tweets with the #newmain hashtag, we were off to tour!
We were split into groups based on different literature genres. I was in the poetry group with lots of other bloggers.
I liked the main library before the renovation – but post-renovation library is impressive. The new layout is bright and open to encourage a sense of community and togetherness.
Some of my favorite features of the library are the gorgeous vistas seen throughout the building. The new floor plan is so open – you can see across the atrium to other parts of the library from all floors and at many spots you can look from one end to the other and see downtown Columbus. There are also lovely views of the new park plaza which connects to Topiary Park.
Another favorite is the library’s focus on sustainability. They’re working to achieve LEED gold certification and will be able to use the building to teach sustainable practices to the Columbus community.
There’s a big focus on technology and making it accessible to all library users. Each floor of the library, near the elevators and highlighted with bright orange walls (the only bright colors used in the building to make them stand out) are interactive discovery boards. The huge touchscreen boards can be used to find out what events are going on at the library and where meetings are being held. It can even help you find a new book to read!
My group kept getting held up at the many windows, since we were all bloggers we were all stopping for photos! There are so many nice spots to stop and enjoy the view!
An area of libraries that I love to visit are the local history and genealogy departments. I dabble in genealogy from time to time and I love learning about history, whether it’s history of my home town, where I live or when I’m travelling.
The genealogy and history department at the #newmain has some awesome new features: a digital lab (with one of the largest scanners in the US), a discovery board for local history and genealogy and an all digital microfilm with some full text searching! The department is a digital hub for Ohio libraries and institutes and is able to put scanned materials online.
The Atrium, the center of the library, is also very open and well-lit. I imagine I could spend an entire afternoon perched on one of the many chairs along the railings on any floor, just watching people come and go.
The library has a new area for teens – the theme of openness and community togetherness continues in this part of the building too. Our library guide told us the computers are oriented so the teens using them face downtown Columbus. The hope is that this view will help teens imagine themselves working in one of the buildings downtown. Study areas overlook the board room, another aspirational view for teens.
The library is also making an effort to showcase their collection of books. Displays feature front facing books with stacks of the same title available behind them. I love this look! I know the old adage is that we shouldn’t judge books by their covers — but there are so many gorgeous book covers and they can really draw you in. I read so many books when I worked at the library (and took home more than I could ever read before they were due back) mostly because I saw all of these lovely books every day at work. One of my favorite things to do at work was come up with new ways to display our teen collection — the cover artwork makes a big difference in whether or not the book will be picked up! ?
A very noticeable change at the #newmain library is the children’s area. Called Ready for Kindergarten, this new set-up is meant to help preschoolers, parents and families get ready for kindergarten. The storytime areas, book shelves and play areas mimic a kindergarten classroom — there’s even a few classroom fish in a large tank built into a bookshelf!
The children of Columbus are a top priority and the library is making sure that all building renovations reflect this commitment.
The Columbus Metropolitan Library is renovating or building 10 of their locations. You can read more about each project here.
After our tour, we were treated to a lunch buffet, catered by Two Caterers. We had a taco bar with beef, chicken, taco toppings, a corn salad and some sweet treats! It was all delicious and the little cupcakes were adorable!
Lunch was delicious, but the fondant cake of #newmain really stole the show! The cake, made by Queen Anne’s Lace Cakes, was both the library and a stack of popular books. It was gorgeous and smelled so sweet! The cake wasn’t meant for eating, which is probably for the best — who would have wanted to cut up such a lovely creation?
I’m so glad I was able to tour the #newmain Columbus Metropolitan Library last week! I was really impressed with the renovations and more than a little jealous that this library is no longer a short fifteen minute drive from home for me.
The #newmain library officially opened on Saturday, June 25th with a dedication and ribbon cutting at noon. In the afternoon there were activities, entertainment and patrons could sign up for a commemorative library card. The festivities concluded with a special PBJ & Jazz concert in Topiary Park featuring the Caribbean Jazz Sextet.
Now through August 27th, the Carnegie Gallery will feature an exhibit called art unbound. Local artists were challenged to transform worn library books that would have been recycled into works of art. I’m planning to stop in and see this awesome sounding exhibit later this summer.
Columbus Metropolitan Library – Columbus
Address: 96 South Grant Avenue, Columbus Ohio 43215
Phone Number: 614-645-2275
Hours: Monday – Thursday 9am – 9pm. Friday – Saturday 9am – 6pm. Sunday 1pm – 5pm.