Happy Monday, Readers! Whatever you’re up to this week, I hope it starts out well for you. There’s nothing particularly exciting on my schedule for this week aside from a stack of surprisingly thick juvenile fiction books. Hopefully they won’t take more than two or three days each, but we’ll see.
I’ve been sitting on an idea for a new post series exploring architecturally impressive libraries for a while now, but it never seemed like the right time to start in. However, since I have to spend so much time this semester reading books that probably won’t get much more than a passing comment or mini review here, I think this is a good time to dive in! Most of the time these posts will be fairly short. They’re just meant to be an introduction to a cool-looking library that I would like to visit, and to inspire you to explore more on your own if you are so inclined! Eventually, this might expand to include bookshops or other buildings with literary merit, but for now we’re going to start with just libraries. I hope you’ll join me every other Monday to discover a new library.
Library #1: Seattle Public Library Central Branch
To kick things off, we’re going to start with the first library that led me down a rabbit hole after I saw it referred to as “the most instagramable library” (Davis, 2018): the Central Branch of the Seattle Public Library!
Choosing a picture to represent the library is difficult, because it looks very different from every angle! Not to mention everything inside. I don’t know where to begin with all of the amenities this library offers its community, but you can read about it all on their website here. This is how the levels break down:
Modern architecture often isn’t my favorite aesthetic, but in this case, I am thoroughly impressed! From the interior garden in the “living room” to a red hallway that admittedly looks like it was made to be Instagrammed, to the “book spiral” where stacks are built into a 4-story sloping ramp, this library oozes creativity. I have never been to Seattle, but from what I can see, it sounds like this library is doing all it can to engage its community with a building that is both a fun and useful place to learn and to simply be.
If you have a few spare minutes and an interest in libraries, I encourage you to do a generic image search for the Seattle Public Library. There are so many aspects I would love to showcase but simply don’t have the space for today.
More information about this library:
Library Homepage: spl.org
Burrows, A. (2004). Central Library, 2002-present, The Seattle Public Library. HistoryLink. https://historylink.org/File/4303
Davis, B. (2018). Seattle has the ‘Most Instagrammable’ library in the world. Crosscut. https://crosscut.com/2018/12/seattle-has-most-instagrammable-library-world
Seattle Public Library. (2020). The Seattle Public Library Named 2020 Library of the Year. https://www.spl.org/about-us/news-releases/the-seattle-public-library-is-named-2020-library-of-the-year
What are your initial thoughts on this series? Are you excited? Bored? Have a recommendation for a library to discover? Let me know in a comment!
If you thought that all libraries had either elaborate classical or plain modern architecture, SPL goes against both completely. When I first saw pictures of it, I became obsessed with figuring out how each of the levels was set up and reading about the numerous cool features. This library sparked a desire to go on a road trip specifically to visit interesting libraries, making it the perfect choice for starting out this series of doing just that, but virtually. I hope you’ll join me every other Monday to discover another library!
Until the next chapter,