To say I’m a book addict would be like saying Keith Richards has dabbled a few times in drugs and alcohol….a bit of an understatement.
And like any addict, supporting my habit might require me to dive into a life of crime if not for one of the best inventions humans have ever come up with…LIBRARIES!!!
Libraries are the best. Where else can you go in, load up on a ginormous stack of books, thumb through them for a while, then send them back with no restocking fee (and without having to find room on your own crowded shelves for them)?
One of the first things I did after moving into the house I currently live in (besides getting a new furnace working!) was to head down to the local library and nab myself a library card.
That library, the Ledding Library of Milwaukie, served its purpose. It had books, it had movies, it had the man who would become Mr Husband (you just never know what you’ll find at the library, right?), but it was showing its age. The building had once been the home of the Ledding family, then Florence Ledding donated the old house and land to the city of Milwaukie for the express purpose of using the land for a library.
The house was expanded to make a decent-sized library, and over the years, the poor little building has been cobbled together and remodeled to adapt to a growing population and collection.
But there was only so much the city could keep doing with this hodgepodge little structure and so plans for a new library began…twenty years ago! Cue joke about government moving slowly on projects.
Anyway, after a bond measure to raise funds for a new library, a bit of a legal battle thanks to a snarky neighbor, and much debate over what shape the new library would take, construction finally started in 2018.
The old library was completely torn down, the books and staff were moved to a temporary location (lovingly called the Pod Palace), and construction proceeded along at a pretty rapid clip. In December 2019, the staff and books migrated back over to the new building (with a few hiccups, of course).
Finally, last week, the new library opened!!! Having my connections (aka “spouse”), Finn McSpool and I got a sneak preview before the library opened to the public. And wow, what a difference!!
Want a tour? If you’re willing to let Finn be your guide, keep on scrolling….
Just a quick exterior view of the library and its park before we head to the front entry…
Inside, look how open it is. Unfortunately, all this open space does steal away from shelf space for books (grrrr!), but it does look pretty snazzy.
Speaking of shelves, check these out. They light up! Just what my half-blind eyes need!!
And Finn has just found some familiar titles on those shelves!
Moving on, in addition to all the open space, the new library has several side rooms for meetings. But another side room is dedicated to the teens (and teenagers at heart). This room is chock full of graphic novels and young adult fiction.
To give the room a little something special, Dark Horse Comics (whose headquarters are just a couple blocks from the library) donated this amazing mural…
As with the old library, there’s a dedicated section of the new library for the kiddies…complete with leaves you never have to rake up! The blue thing, by the way, represents the Willamette River which runs past Milwaukie.
Oh no, Finn has found the puppet stage. We might be here a while…
–-To be, or not to be…
–Definitely NOT to be.
–But my soliloquy. Alas, poor Yorick.
–I think talking to skulls might scare the kids. Let’s go peek into the non-public areas.
And of course, in little time, Finn found the food in the break room. I’m still not sure how he got the refrigerator door open by himself.
The next stop was a wander around Mr Husband’s and his co-workers’ new work area.
Finn then got distracted by one of the phones. So distracted that he hadn’t paid attention to his surroundings. To avoid him inducing pandemonium with his running into the public areas screaming that a vicious monster was on the loose, I decided against telling Finn to look out behind him…
That’s the tour. So far, the new library has been well received by patrons and staff, and I’ve already taken home a nice stack of books from the shelves!