Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of visiting the new main library in Vancouver, WA. Sublime. Superb. Glorious. I felt like I was in New York City with the advanced architecture, features, technology and details. I went with my younger sister and three of my biblio-wee-ones and headed straight to the children’s floor. Oh my goodness, this was a far cry from the library I grew up with in this same city long ago. I think it may be a good thing that we don’t live in Vancouver anymore because I’m not sure I’d ever leave that place! I’d pack up my older boys’ homeschooling books and we’d trek to the library each day and let my toddlers run amok while we did our work surrounded by infinite resources to support our learning.
The second we got to the children’s floor (yes, floor… it’s on it’s own level), my sister tried to take me to the back area to look at all the infinte details with their excellent interactive play area… but I stopped like a kid in a candy store just looking at their massive amounts of children’s books. She thought I was right behind her but I’d dropped to my knees and started pulling books off the shelf to preview. See, we are blessed to live within walking distance to our community library and I’m ever grateful for that. But it really is rather dinky. And comparing it to this library would be like comparing a little league T-Ball team to the New York Yankees. I tried not to feel envy. I saw so many authors that my own library system doesn’t carry and such a delightful method of organizing books too. I was in hog heaven.
On top of this, there was indeed a wonderful variety of children’s games, features (the community was asked to donate some items to contribute and my dear late grandmother’s pressed flowers are imbedded in this giant tent for the kids to play in… and my nephew has a rusty, railroad spike he found and contributed–it’s now encased in a clear box with other trinkets and the like) and super innovative educational activities that really were rocket science compared to the 4 or 5 wooden puzzles that my own library branch offers. I know, I know… envy is the big green monster. I have to keep my eyes on my own stack of books, truly. But if you ever are travelling north or south on the I-5 corridor through the Vancouver/Portland area, you really MUST stop and see this library downtown. It would be an excellent place to stop and let the kids get a bit of energy out without resorting to a McDonald’s play area… this is no ordinary library.