Today I went to my new city's new main library. I don't know what I expected, but it certainly was not what I found. I was literally speechless. Granted, I went by myself so there was no one to express my dumbfoundedness to, but still. It was beautiful, breathtaking, amazing, and completely indescribable. Here's what I did - arrived, wandered around on my own for about an hour and a half (because it really takes that long to check it all out), got some lunch, took an impromptu guided tour, sat down to study but realized the caffeine from lunch hadn't worn off and I was jittery, got on the computer to look up all the festivals Indy offers, signed up for the summer reading program, and then sat down to read. I was there for five hours and I want to go back tomorrow.
The romantic aspect of libraries for me is the vast amount of information you have at your fingertips. Everyone who knows me knows I'm obsessed with books, and they also know that I am constantly asking questions, sometimes about things that are completely random. Like what does a sea urchin eat? Why do dogs have to turn in circles before they can lie down to sleep? Is it one second per mile or two seconds per mile to determine how far away the storm is when it thunders and lightnings? And why do we say "thunders and lightnings" when it really lightnings then thunders? The fact that I can be surrounded by books and information services and all the answers can be found in one place, under one roof, is almost intoxicating for me. And when I come across a library that truly has everything I could possibly ask for (except for three saltwater aquariums - I really miss our aquariums), well, I get a little woozy.
Nothing I tell you about this library will be descriptive enough. So I'm not going to try. I'm going to tell you that it has beautiful architecture, a fascinating history, amazing design concepts in the kids' area, a computer used solely to look up patents, a working typewriter in case someone doesn't like computers, an alcove specifically for people who want to learn a second language, a gorgeous view, and enough resources and places to keep me occupied for an entire day. If you want more specifics, I'll be happy to tell you, but I can't get into here because this post would become far too long. Suffice it to say that the Central Library has redeemed Indianapolis for me. I still love ACPL (especially the better parking, size of our children's department, and sizes of our branches) but I think I might be able to live with what's here.