I'm embarassed to say that yesterday afternoon, after 15 years in New York City, was only the second time that I've been to a NY public library. I was planning on doing some research for the "I Dig Brazil" program which begins in a few weeks, hoping to find out information about the local culture, politics and arts relevant to the part of Brazil the program will focus on.
Leaving work, I initially planned on doing my research at… Barnes and Nobles. In my brain, I was imagining heading to the travel section, grabbing several guidebooks, and squatting on the floor to crib notes on the relevant topics for "I Dig Brazil." But on the way there, I was feeling pangs of guilt for not trying to find what I wanted at a local library. So I decided to head to the central branch of the Brooklyn Public Library instead, which I've heard only good things about from my friend StackedBlog.
Being in the Brooklyn public library was a revelation. I love the beautiful entryway, leading into a central lobby with the check-out lines to the left and a cafe to the right. Straight ahead is the popular reading section with magazines, newspapers and lots of computer terminals. Several folks were sitting in the common tables with their laptops plugged in, using the free wifi provided by the library.
Heading up the escalator, I made my way to the stacks. A couple of helpful librarians directed me to the relevant travel and history sections on Brazil, where I grabbed armfuls of books that seemed appropriate.
Skimming the books and taking notes in my netbook took me back to my college days spent wiling away the hours at the university library. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed being amidst the quiet buzz of hundreds of other people researching, reading, writing, and having hushed conversations that libraries foster. Before I knew it, an hour and a half had passed, and I had a page of good information that will help as I develop activities for "I Dig Brazil."
Making my out of the library, I passed the job center, the adult learning center, and young adult section and the Brooklyn history section. I'm looking forward to returning and checking out all that the Brooklyn library has to offer. And the website has a whole section on digital books that I'm excited to check out for my new Kindle.
Hurray for libraries!