Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Great Library Adventure Begins: From a Tiny Room to a Large Building

When I recently heard that my beloved library would close, I was devastated. Yes, it was closing so that a better library could be built in its place. Yes, a temporary library would be created to take care of my literary needs. But still, that specific branch would have to close down for two whole weeks so that the books could be transferred from the old library to the temporary library's location. 
How could I manage to survive a whole fortnight without my library????????

After a brief moment of panic as I contemplated this tragedy, I realized that this situation presented me with a golden opportunity: I could go on a literary expedition and explore the various branches of Oklahoma City's Metropolitan Library System. When we first moved here and were apartment hunting, we visited a few different libraries, but after a while, I settled comfortably in one particular branch. While it's been a great location, I was excited to begin this adventure so that I could see the diversity in Oklahoma City's libraries. Since I had commitments in different parts of town on Wednesday, I decided to begin my literary journey then. 



Excitedly, I stepped across the small parking lot towards Wright Library, the smallest location in the MLS. 


This library is in a rougher part of town, so I had been expecting it to be a little bit rundown. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see how nice it was both outside and inside! Isn't it just so darling??????? When I walked through the doorway, I saw that the entire library consisted of one small room. But my oh my, what a room! 

An absolutely charming little area for children!
My eyes took in a large circulation desk, a small table where a law enforcement officer sat, a corner with children's materials, an area with desks and computers, and shelves of books tastefully situated throughout the room. The librarian at the desk was extremely friendly and talked with me about the library and the regular events that occur there. I was particularly interested when he mentioned the "Read to dogs" event that happens monthly, and decided that when my son is older, we definitely need to attend that event at least once (seriously, can you imagine? Adorable dogs!!!! And books!!!!!!!). After looking around and perusing a few different books, I selected one, chatted with the other extremely friendly librarian, and then headed home. 

That evening, I slowly drove up to the large, well-lit structure of Northwest Library, the second-largest location in the MLS. 


The light shining forth from the library made it stand out in the dark evening. From the outside, it looked huge (especially contrasted to Wright Library!). When I walked in, my eyes widened as I took in the massive room. I hauled my heavy library bag and walked up to the desk, looking for a sign marked "Returns," but I could not see one. When I asked the librarian where to return my books, he pointed to a slot in a wall. When I stepped over there, I was amazed to see that this was no any ordinary slot for book returns. Oh no. There was a green light that would shine to show that it was ready for me to insert a book. When I slipped my book in the slot, the light turned red, and I watched my book travel down a conveyor belt in a back room. I'm not at an old-school library anymore, I thought. 

There's even a little screen so you can watch the live video
of your books going down the conveyor belt! It all just seemed
so technologically advanced. 
After the enthralling experience of sending my books away on the conveyor belt, I journeyed back to the main room of the library. The ceiling was extremely high and there were many windows and lights, giving it a light, airy feel. Tons of bookshelves and individual displays advertising various genres of books filled the room. One of the coolest parts was the meeting rooms. You know how libraries will sometimes have little rooms for meetings or group study closed off in the back, away from the rest of the library? This library had those spaces smack dab in the middle of everything. Each room was small, and the walls were clear glass. So as I walked across the library, I would see these glass columns/rooms with people sitting at tables inside, talking and working together. I thought it was neat that these rooms were in the thick of things, right by the bookshelves, so that it'd be easy to leave and quickly grab a book. The rooms just looked cool, too. After gawking at the massive size of everything, I grabbed several books that looked interesting and checked them out. The self-checkout didn't work for one of my books, so a very friendly librarian chatted with me and my baby as she scanned it. Then left so that I could bring my new books home! 

My Thoughts on these Experiences:

I enjoyed seeing the similarities (books, obviously, and very friendly librarians) and the differences (size, obviously, and layout/design). While I love  huge libraries for their resources and selection, small libraries also steal my heart, so I really enjoyed both of these locations. I am so stoked to visit more MLS branches in the future! 

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