A dream library

I’ve  always been a fan of public libraries and today I found one that reminded me off just how good they can be.  I must have been to the ‘city’ of Midland, Michigan on business at least 30 times in the last few years but had never been inside the Grace A Dow public library until today.

The building itself is nothing remarkable. Neither is the inside decor. But close to the entrance is something I’ve never seen before in libraries at home the my part of Wales –  a small coffee shop.  What a great idea. In a country awash with Starbucks outlets it was a pleasure to see some independent business In operation. But what was even more delightful – it’s run by a voluntary Friends of the Library group who just happened to be having a big book sale  at the time I visited. So of course I couldn’t resist a browse which turned into a purchase of four books ( a bargain at only a dollar each). All the proceeds go to the Friends fund so they can bring in speakers and also fund books for  young readers when they visit.  What a great idea – wish my local library did something simliar.

what also impressed me – this is a library designed to be open at times when people who are in work all day can get to it. Every weekday evening it’s open until 8pm and even more remarkably on a Sunday afternoon. So no more rushing to finish work early just to squeak through the doors five mins before closing time at  5.30pm or waiting until the one late night in the week. Very civilised. So naturally families were taking advantage of it.

my local library could take a few lessons from their counterparts over here. I know they are strapped for cash but this is about attitude and taking a  genuine interest in serving the community. And why not recruit interested people to be volunteers?



What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

2 thoughts on “A dream library

  • March 16, 2013 at 9:42 am

    One of our local libraries is open on a Sunday as well, but it has closed its coffee shop. To be fir it’s in the middle of a shopping precinct with several good food outlets so I suppose it wasn’t able to hold its own on the refreshment side.

    I’m willing to bet that when our brand spanking new library opens in the city centre (the one that looks like half a battle ship covered in razor-wire) opens later this year it won’t be open on a Sunday. If the new cataloguing system is anything to go by the convenience of the borrowers will be the last thing on the agenda.

    • March 16, 2013 at 11:45 am

      That’s a good point Alex abt new not necessarily being better. When Cardiff opened their new library a few years ago they kept pushing the fact it was meant to look very open and airy. So book shelves were never more than waist height. Which really means that to browse you now need to adopt an odd crouch to get on eye level with the books and then twist your neck to read the titles. And this is considered progress,,,,,,

      Sent from my iPad


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