Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It's the Season to be Thankful...

Yesterday, while visiting a new local library, I realized how thankful I am for our public libraries.  I am fortunate enough to work near a large library, so I have the opportunity to spend my lunch break browsing for new reads and DVDs.  Libraries allow us to expand our reading horizons and our minds.  It's always free to check-out any book our hearts desire, even if it is out of our norm. Last year, my reading list showed much more diversity than previous years, thanks to my wonderful local library. 

The libraries that I frequent near my home and work are relatively new and offer a wide variety of services and technologies to improve the library experience.  I enjoy such features as self check-out and drive-thru windows; but I also enjoy the history, and in some cases, grandeur of older libraries. Because we are bookworms, my sister and I like to visit local, historic libraries on vacation.  In the past year, we visited two libraries, which are particularly striking: The New York Public Library in New York City and The Morrin Centre in Quebec City (Click here or visit the Side Trips page for photos).  These two libraries are vastly different in terms of scale and style, but they both convey a sense of history and knowledge. The New York Public Library is defined by awe-inspiring classical architecture from its lobby with marble columns, to its hall and ceilings with murals and gilded moldings, to its reading rooms with handsome wood circulation desks and shelves.

In contrast, the Morrin Centre, which is housed in a small section of a former 19th century jail, is charming and intimate.  Despite its small scale, The Morrin Centre is hugely impressive, especially considering that its furnishings date to the 19th century when Charles Dickens was a guest speaker.  Nothing connects you to history more than sitting in an old wooden chair at an antique leather topped-desk.

Public libraries are truly a central part of our local communities. They are institutions that are dedicated to the literacy and education of past, present, and future generations.  These two ramblings readers are thankful for all of the services provided by our local libraries!

~ M

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