Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Minneapolis Central Library

When the new Minneapolis Central Library opened on May 20, it was a zoo. At my volunteer training a week before that, it was hard to believe that it would be up and running in seven short days. But it was, and Minnesotan turned out in droves to enjoy the party on Nicollet Mall, explore the new facility, and check out books. My third visit found the library busy with patrons, but gave me as bit more freedom to explore and compile a list of some of this new community center's best features:

From the Top Down:

  1. Looking over the balcony at "Ripple Effect," the stunning floor that depicts the water that is so important to Minnesota's identity.
  2. "The Power of. . ." 4th floor fireplace with it's tiled mural, and the view over downtown beyond.
  3. Special Collections entrance arch of beautifully carved wood transported from the original library of 1889.
  4. 3rd floor Piano Rooms with grand pianos, available for public use for free!
  5. Picture files for fun browsing - collections of1970s to much older pictures on alphabetical topics from bubbles to buses.
  6. Best seating in the house at Emma B. Howe Teen Central - silver bean bag chair positioned to gaze out at the 2nd floor Green Roof.
  7. Style lessons from Teen Central - silver dry-erase walls in the meeting room and read and black Japanese ash shelving.
  8. "sMOTHer inFLAME" 1st floor fireplace, a thought provoking work on censorship playing with the element of fire.
  9. Giant dragonfly guides leading the way through the Children's Library, a space defined in shape-and-color-plays.
  10. The building exterior, a glass and stone interpretation of Minnesota's natural beauty - the four designs adorning the windows on each side of the building should not be overlooked.

Minneapolis Central - worth the wait and raising the bar for the library as a physical space. And don't forget to all hail Minerva, goddess of wisdom, watching over three downtown libraries for over 100 years.