While visiting the library in Ashland, OR, I was struck by a serious case of library nostalgia. I lived in Ashland for about eight months a couple of years ago and the public library was basically where I hung out (yeah, I’ve been a library nerd for a while). You might think developing such a strong attachment to a public space is ludicrous, but just take a look at this baby…
Given my attachement to the library in Ashland, it’s only fitting that I was lucky enough to spend part of my Valentine’s Day there. I enjoyed the beautiful exposed beams on the library’s second story,
the awesome view from one of their many huge windows (this photo does not do it justice),
and the beautifully wrapped blind date books.
As if all this weren’t enough, I ran into Andrew Carnegie (or at least a nearly life-sized cardboard cut out of him) in the stairwell. Random, you might be saying, but in fact the Ashland library is one of about 2,500 libraries that was originally constructed with money donated by Carnegie between 1883 and 1929 (1). And honestly, who doesn’t love unexpected cardboard cut-outs – especially when you can con your BFF to pose next to them!
By this point you might be thinking that I’m laying my love for this library on a bit thick. “When’s the other shoe going to drop?” you’re asking yourself. And you’d be right about things being a bit more complicated. The libraries in Jackson County (the Ashland library among them) have undergone their share of craziness in recent years. In April 2007, the county closed all of its libraries after the federal government failed to renew the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act (2). This library closure, which was the biggest in the country at the time, lasted for six months while the county looked for new funding. The libraries were finally re-opened with management assistance from a private firm – the Maryland-based Systems and Services LLC. Despite my many criticisms of use of private contractors in public services, I have to admit that the library in Ashland is better open than closed.
Now that I’ve come clean about all that drama, let me bring you back to this photo tour with the lovely children’s section which is housed in the old library building and is connected to the rest of the library (built recently) by a beautiful atrium walkway.
I mean who doesn’t love a room with a dragon guarding the door?
Or with one decorating the story time area?
And this mouse clock – um…yes!
Thank you all for taking the time to indulge my library nostalgia – I hope that I haven’t gone on too long! For more information about visiting the Ashland Branch of the Jefferson County Library, check out their website at http://www.jcls.org/branch-ashland.html
In other news, I wanted to wish you all a belated Valentine’s Day! And if you find yourself getting burned out from excessive library touring, pick up a bag of these amazing marshmallows and enjoy!
2. Mann, Damien. 2007. “Libraries will start to open Oct. 24.” Mail Tribune. Retrieved from http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071009/NEWS/710090312/-1/special06