Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Main Library - Columbus Metropolitan Library

I think libraries are awesome!  I have fond memories of the Flesh Public Library in my hometown (the library was named after Leo Flesh, who made a large donation when the library needed a larger building in the 1930s, the name only sounds weird to me now, it didn’t seem weird growing up because we didn’t know the names of any other libraries!).  My parents used to read to me and my sister when we were little and we always participated in the summer reading program.  Every summer the the whole children’s area in the library was transformed into a new fantastic land, like a medieval castle or fairy tale woods.   

I’m a nerd and a bookworm so whenever I move to a new area, even if it’s just for short period of time, I get a library card.  As a college student I spent a lot of time in Ohio University’s Alden Library, studying, drinking coffee and eating addictive sugar cookies with white frosting and green sprinkles (OU has so much school spirit, the baked goods get involved).

Libraries have so much to offer.  Large libraries carry not only books, but movies, music CDs, magazines, newspapers, even artwork.  Some have cafes, so not only can you get lost in a book, but you can enjoy a delicious treat or beverage while doing so.  Others have artwork, book clubs and other reading or educational programs.  Some, like the Spencer Public Library in Iowa, have cats!  (I personally feel all libraries should have cats, it’s a really cool tradition that dates back to the libraries of Egypt where cats were trained to keep mice and snakes from eating papyrus scrolls!  Also cats are awesome and I want more opportunities to pet them.)

Even if a library is small and only holds books, it’s still a wonderful place because of all of the books it contains.  These books are portals to new worlds and experiences all neatly typed up and bound in small portable volumes.  They are treasures and libraries share these treasures with everyone.  All you need is a (free) library card.  

Because of my love of libraries, it should be no surprise that I feel Columbus has hit the library jackpot!   The Columbus Metropolitan Library is a wonderful library system with twenty-one locations throughout the city.  If you live in Columbus, you live near the library!  Even if the Main Library isn’t in your neighborhood, I definitely recommend giving it a visit.  The Main Library is located in downtown Columbus and is very close to the Columbus Art Museum, Topiary Park and the Kelton House.  The remainder of this blog post goes into detail about offerings at the Main Library, which is located at 96 S. Grant Avenue.

The Columbus Metropolitan Library opened in 1873 and is the winner of numerous awards including being named the National Library of the Year in 2010 by Library Journal.

The Main Library has three levels and a (paid) parking garage.  Just outside of the Main Library entrance is a CoGo Bike Share rack.  CoGo is Columbus’ new bike share system with thirty bike racks located downtown.  

Whenever I visit the Main Library, I always make time to check out the new book section.  I usually grab a craft, gardening or baking book to look at, or I'll discover a new author or book series to read (including the Ethan Gage series by William Dietrich).

Also on the first floor of the library you will find:

Atrium: Customer Service, Express Computers, New Books, Reserves and the Homework Help Center.

Center for Discovery: Children/Teens, Story cove and the Activity room.

Lobby: Auditorium, The Library Store, Java's Cyber Espresso Bar and the Parking Garage Payment kiosk.  

The children’s area includes a story time space made to look like a castle and die cut machines.  The die cut machines make my job so much easier!  Die cut machines are used to cut out letters, animals and other fun shapes out of paper, much faster than if you cut them out by hand.  They’re free for the public to use too.  I have created shapes for Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Alice in Wonderland and many other fun crafts!

Java’s Cyber Espresso Bar has very good coffee drinks!  Great for a pick-me up pre or post library visit!

The Main Library has a variety of shapes you can use on the die cut machine, including Halloween shapes!

The second floor of the Main Library houses the following:

Arts & Media: 000, 100, 200, 400, 700, 800, Fiction, DVDs and CDs, Audiobooks, Music Scores, Foreign Language, GED/Adult Basic Learning and Tutor Rooms.

Carnegie Gallery

The Carnegie Gallery is accessible near the main entrance of the library (off of Grant Avenue).  When I most recently visited, it was exhibiting artwork from the Columbus Invitational Arts Competition as well as offering a view of a gigantic mobile which hangs from the ceiling over the library lobby.  

There is artwork throughout the entire library though, not just in the Carnegie Gallery!  The main stairway features a bright and colorful painting and there is framed artwork displayed in many different sections of the building.  I included photos of my favorite pieces I saw during my last visit.  One of my favorites is the giraffe in the children’s area – it looks like he’s made out of duct tape and towers over you when you walk by to get to the die cut machine!

The Carnegie Gallery recently opened a new exhibition, “Art Unbound” using damaged and old books.  This exhibition is on view now until November 21 when the artwork, created by 18 local Ohio artists, will be auctioned off to benefit construction of two new library branches.  It looks amazing and I can't wait to check it out!

The third floor is where you will find the following resources:

Science, Business & News: 300, 500, 600, Magazines & Newspapers, The Board Room, The Loft & Job Help Center, Microfilm Center and the Group Study area.

Genealogy, History & Travel: 900, Biographies, Columbus & Ohio Collection, Genealogy and Maps & Travel.

I have yet to make use of the libraries extensive genealogy records and history resources, but I’m already impressed with what I’ve seen.  Some of these resources are available online so you can use them without leaving home!

Columbus Memory - the poster reads: Looking for historic items such as postcards, sheet music, photographs, books, maps and more?  This is the place to go.  This project is a collaboration between Columbus Metropolitan Library and the Columbus Historical Society.  Historic items are being digitized to preserve Columbus' history.  The project was funded by an Institute of Museum and Library Services LSTA grant awarded by the State Library of Ohio.
For more information or to contribute your items call 645-2ASK.

In addition to lending books, movies and music, the library also offers programs and events to the public.  Story time, business classes, ready for kindergarten classes, homework help, job search help and book discussions are just some of the offerings available at the twenty-one Columbus Metropolitan Library locations.  You can search for specific events on the website and every location provides homework and job help.

Check out the Columbus Metropolitan Library!  You can borrow a great book or movie, view some cool new artwork, or research your ancestors!  If they ever get a library cat - I will let you know!