Monday, February 22, 2010

a sunday among the stacks

so here are my most recent memories of libraries:

1. high school librarian coming into my junior year english class dressed as a human-size book to teach us, yet again, the dewey decimal system. and we still didn't get it or care.

2. stern looking ladies at the "circulation desk" of my public library growing up constantly shushing us and being what seemed like purposely not helpful in locating the books we needed for our reports and projects. thank GOD for the internet (and al gore, of course).

3. being so delinquent on some borrowed books from my college library that i had to make an emergency bursar's office run a couple days before graduation be permitted to walk. and i was a flagbearer (stop laughing) so not walking would have been a problem.

so i guess it's no wonder that i haven't set foot in a library in many years. and i can say it was worth the wait - on a whim, i decided to stop into the port washington public library yesterday afternoon, and it was the loveliest day i've had in a while. first of all, the library itself is beyond beautiful. modern and linear, and flooded with light. also, there was interesting and lovely artwork all around. combined with the comfortable furniture and the hum of classical music, i was ready to move in.

currently on display is the work of carlos page, an argentinian sculptor now based in hoboken. i love the mix of materials he uses and the ways it relates to the building's style and textures. frankly, though, i just loved that it was all there and so beautifully exhibited. it reminded me what a beautiful and vibrant community port washington is, which can be a little easier to forget when its not in its full spring and summer water town glory.

i was equally thrilled to see how frequently the library has live music and other cultural programs - i am so there, now that i know about these things.

you know how barnes and noble has chairs and tables that you can sit at and read? even though they don't say so, i kind of feel like it's possible to overstay your welcome there if you're not spending money. but not at the library. people were there reading the newspaper, doing their taxes, just gazing out the huge wall of two-story windows at lower main was amazing.

looking out the windows, i realized that there is a terrace which is open in the warmer months which overlooks lower main street, and although it looked cold and bleak yesterday, i was thrilled at the idea of it in just a couple short months. so i was further pleased to see these pictures on the library's facebook page. so pretty! i can't wait...

and i was beyond excited by the ease of navigating through the library's collection. it's all computerized and easily searchable on computers placed throughout the library, and any books which are checked out or belonging to another library can be easily requested right there - sort of like a netflix situation but with books. of course it sort of figures it would all be computerized now, but libraries always seemed a bit out of date and behind the times to me before now, so i was happily surprised.

i am so happy about my discovery of the library, though i'm sort of kicking myself for my ignorance and for not thinking to explore it sooner. but of course, no point in looking back, only forward, so i am thrilled without measure that i've come upon such a special place to spend time. it seems like a perfect place to read and listen and observe, perfect for an artist's date - a place to spend some much cherished time in peace and quiet with only myself and thoughts on a page.

carlos page photos from, terrace garden photos from (pwpl page)


Maria said...

I refer to it as "free fun", and am a BIG fan of the library. Happy you had a good time exploring yours :)

I'm Stacey... said...

I love my local library! The one in downtown Portland is a gorgeous building, covered in Latin phrases and famous artists' names on the outside, and full of grand staircases and interesting artwork inside. (Unfortunately, it's also bum central, being downtown and containing public restrooms.)

Hali Bey said...

We seem to be kindred blog spirits! Thank you so much for highlighting my writing. I enjoyed reading your post on the library just as much as I enjoyed writing my own.


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