I'm writing this at what may very well become my new "downtown office." Which in the past was a fancy way of saying "Aroma Coffee." But table space, comfy chairs, and electrical outlets are in plentiful supply at my new downtown office, not to mention reference materials and librarians. Soon there will be a coffee shop ("Latte da!") and WiFi access.
Yep, the new Champaign Public Library just opened its doors to the public on Sunday afternoon, and it's splendid! Light and airy, with walls made from bamboo (fast-growing, and so a good alternative to hardwood) and energy-saving features, it has tons more space, computers and a much larger collection. Conference rooms and quiet study rooms. The children's section is bright and friendly, with a story room and discovery area and a help desk that does double duty as a light show. There's a separate teen room with YA books, computers and a Wii.
My library scientist friend and running buddy Joan was in town on Sunday, so we decided to pop in on the library's grand opening in the middle of our run, hot and sweaty as we were.
We were stunned. It was mobbed! People of all ages. It was like a party. And people were using the library, not just gawking. The checkout lines must have been 20 people long. I'm telling you, it brought tears to my eyes to see this much enthusiasm about a new library. Joan, too, and as a library geek she also appreciated getting to see the state-of-the-art book sorting room.
My downtown office experience will be complete when the coffee shop downstairs opens and their WiFi is installed.