by Fallon Zschiegner-Bleich, Head Editor, INALJ Arkansas
My Bucket List of Libraries – US Edition
I have always loved libraries and I am the stereotypical 90’s child who fell in love with them through Matilda and Beauty and the Beast (you can’t deny wanting Belle’s library when you watched that movie for the first time!). As I’ve gotten older, I’ve traveled the world and realized that my love of travel can also mix with my love of libraries. So, this month I’ve created part 1 of my bucket list of libraries that I want to visit one day. All of these are chosen, not because of location—though that does help—but because they are awesome looking, hold first editions of famous works, and/or offer a really cool library experience:
Yale University Library, specifically the Beinecke Rare Book Library
As a total history nerd, this is my Mecca. I will, in my lifetime, definitely find my way to this library, even if I just have to randomly take on a project to do so. While the entire Yale Library System is amazing, the Beinecke Library is one I dream about. This is grown up Belle’s library, because it houses so many special collections of authors—think Kipling, Lawrence, etc.—that I can’t even list them all here. Plus, it always makes me feel like I would be in the Librarian movies on TNT or Warehouse 13 on SyFy.
I am in love with Moshe Safdie. He designed the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, where I volunteer, and the man knows how to design beautiful buildings. (Seriously, check him out.) Besides being beautiful, the Salt Lake City Public Library has a rooftop garden, over 500,000 items, and a huge zine collection, which I adore.
It may not look like much, but the Athenaeum is one of the oldest in the United States and I feel that it’s a must on my history nerd tour of libraries. Plus, the architecture! It’s not a Moshe Safdie, but it is a great example of several different American building periods. Also, I randomly discovered a book on this place and decided then and there to put it on my bucket list!
I heard about this library no less than three times at ALA and for good reason. It has a bookBot! And it’s a technology haven for us technophiles that are in the library world. I don’t know how and when I’m next going to North Carolina, but this will definitely be on my list to see.
This list used to be 5 libraries long, but at Midwinter this year, I got to go to the Seattle Public Library. It was definitely worth the visit! Obviously, this is not the end all of great libraries in the U.S., but rather my attempt to pick a few fantastic ones to make a must-see on my travels. I encourage all of you to start looking at the libraries where you’re traveling next and seeing if you find any hidden gems. Next month I will go over the numerous international libraries that are on my bucket list, but until then, I am happy to receive any suggestions for U.S. or world libraries I need to see. Comment below with any suggestions or tweet me at @INALJArkansas!