In case you are here to read about child welfare, let me say upfront that this is not about child welfare. Well, I suppose I could make the stretch and say that children often go to libraries, or that libraries contain books about child welfare. But honestly, it really is *not* about child welfare. So if you are here for that reason only, you would be well advised to stop reading now and have a good day.
OK, so you are still reading so I assume you are interested in libraries. I’ve been to quite a few. I have been known to tell the story about moving to a new community and going to the nearest public library to get a new library card before contacting utility companies, phone companies, etc. to arrange for service. Yes, sad but true.
What did these libraries do to earn this distinction, you ask? All three earned it for different reasons.
1. Mill Creek, Washington: This library has this great policy of not charging fines for overdue books. Really. Well, at least they didn’t when I lived in Mill Creek. People always ask me if they lose lots of books this way. I don’t know. But I thought it was the greatest policy ever. Honestly, I don’t think I ever returned a book late there. And I’ve done that in every other public library I’ve ever used at least once, I’m sure. I’ve always considered library fines as my way of contributing to a worthwhile cause. So to make up for not paying fines in Mill Creek, I donated money to them. I suspect I donated much more than I ever paid in fines at other libraries.
2. Seattle, Washington: There are two reasons this public library earned a spot on my favorites list. One is aesthetics. The downtown Seattle public library is a work of architectural art. I’ve been told that many people go there just to see and experience the building. And it is worth it. It was designed by an architect named Haus (I think that is right), and it is masterful. The second reason it is on my list; a great librarian that works there gave me a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of the library. She explained the ‘whys’ and ‘wherefores’, showed me the incredible automated conveyor system that receives and sorts new books, and told me great stories about the history of the library. It also has a great collection of books, a coffee shop, a gift shop, talking heads, and an incredible view.
3. Arlington County, Virginia: This library earns a spot on the top three for functionality and selection. They have the best hours in the area, the main library has underground parking, and they have great resources. I like to check out the grants database. Oh, and they often have a volunteer sitting near the check-out area to answer questions or just say hi. That is always pleasant.
If you are disappointed that you do not see your favorite library listed above, not to worry. I’m quite willing to go check it out and write a review. Of course, you will need to provide transportation to and from, make arrangements for me to get a library card (because how else can one truly get to know a library??!), and make provisions for lodging during my evaluative visit. Please keep in mind that it takes more than one visit to thoroughly evaluate a library and its services.
In keeping with my resolve to take a ‘glass half full’ approach to life, I won’t share my views on the libraries that made the list of worst libraries. And I just have to say, whoever came up with the notion of public libraries is a genius and a saint. To that person or persons, I say thank you for providing myself and others with countless hours of enjoyment and educational opportunities.