A long while back I wrote a blog post from the atrium of the local Heinen’s grocery store that was next door to where I worked. It was often noisy up there because…well…there was a grocery store running below. You could hear people ramming carts into the cart return and the beep of the tills. You could hear children crying, the automatic doors, and announcements over the PA system.
But after a while that little upstairs floor of Heinen’s turned into the quietest place on Earth. It was where a co-worker and I would escape our busy days to read books or chat or…you know…eat lunch (it was a grocery store after all).
Since having left that area I no longer frequent Heinen’s over lunch. In fact, I moved into a situation where I live so close (5 minutes walk) that I could go home over lunch to do chores or workout. But it took that little slice of Heaven away from me. That one hour of the day where you’re not at work to work and you’re not at home to do house work…you’re just meant to enjoy your life and eat lunch.
Lucky for me…I’ve found it again.
I’m blogging from the small nook on the second floor of the library close to my flat.
It goes without saying that I have a love affair with libraries. I have 7 (yes, 7) library cards and used to frequent 2 almost every Saturday for about a year (until I moved away from home).
Even when traveling, libraries somehow seem to work their way into my life. The one in Kansas City, MO has my favorite exterior that I just happened to stumble upon while walking to the local CVS for some cold medicine.
Favorite interior goes to the John Rylands library which I put on the itinerary for our trip to Manchester, UK. I think they might have filmed some hallway scenes in the early Harry Potter movies here but don’t quote me on that.
Why the love affair with libraries? Because of what they represent to me. Instant access to knowledge. Which I guess for some could be epitomized by the internet but I’m old school in ways. I grew up reading Dr. Seuss as a hardback book…not watching it on TV or reading it on the child-equivalent of an iPad. And while I CLEARLY embrace technology (yes, I read books on my iPhone and listen to BBC radio adaption podcasts), there’s just something about browsing the aisles, pulling books off the shelf, and sitting down in the corner to examine them. With the internet, unless you’re on a site that aggregates content for you, you kind of have to know what you’re looking for. You ask yourself…what do I want to read today? Tech news? Political happenings? Trashy celebrity gossip? (I have those days…) But in a library you can just wander. You can walk past Sports into History or go from Cookbooks into Business.
Specifically, the library that I’m in right now takes up half a city block and is 3 floors tall. Which pales in comparison to my favorite library on Earth: The Cleveland public library downtown on 6th and Superior. It needs 2 buildings to house it’s collection: one is 5 floors (where each floor is the size of two normal floors so it’s really 10 floors tall) and one that’s a solid 10 floors.
Fun fact: In 2011 the Cleveland Public Library was the 13th largest public library in the ENTIRE United States (based on the number of items in it’s collection).
Double fun fact: Clevenet is a consortium of 38 library SYSTEMS in 11 (Northeast Ohio) counties. (A system, for example is Cleveland Public Library…which includes 28 branch locations….you do the math on how many physical library locations are a part of all 38 systems).
Where am I going with all of this? Basically, if you live in Northeast Ohio, chances are your local library is a part of Clevenet. Which means you have access to ZILLIONS of books, movies, CDs, and free resources. A lot of the more obscure foreign films that my local library doesn’t carry can usually (read: always) be found in the Cleveland library network so I just “order” them from another library and have them delivered to the one down the street.
It’s brilliant, people. Brilliant!
Which, bringing this full circle, is why I love my library. The library in general. It’s quiet, calm, and peaceful. It’s full of knowledge. And it most definitely is Heaven on Earth.