I spend quite a bit of time at the library, and make at least a couple trips there each week. The library branch I use most often is the one closest to my home: Spicewood Springs.
When my family first moved to Austin (about two years ago) this branch was close enough that I could walk and my husband and I did that frequently. It was great to have a destination (and to use the water fountain, sit in a comfy chair for a minute or two, and recover a bit before making the walk back home – according to Google Maps, the distance was 1.4 miles each way).
I’m now 6.4 miles away from the library, so I have to drive. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s another library closer to my home.
Exploring libraries is the aim of what I plan to be a recurring feature of my blog.
Many of the APL branches are “recycled” buildings, meaning they were originally built for another purpose and were later converted for library use. Spicewood doesn’t fit that category, it was constructed specifically to be a library and opened on November 4, 1985. Prior to that, (1979 to 1985) residents of Northwest Austin were served by the North Oaks Branch which operated out of the Lamar Savings building in the North Oaks Shopping Center.
One of my favorite things about the Spicewood Branch is the light and airy reading area in the northwest corner of the building. It’s furnished with comfy chairs and one wall holds recent periodicals and newspapers, inviting patrons to have a seat and read a bit. A lot of the windows are frosted to keep the area from getting too hot or being too bright, others are clear, offering a gorgeous view of a spectacular live oak with its evergreen canopy of twisting branches, complex as any thriller plot.
This atmosphere fits so well with the audiobook I’m currently enjoying: The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier and More Creative by Florence Williams (W.W. Norton & Company, 2017). The author delves into scientific research exploring nature’s effect on mood, creativity and mental health. It’s fascinating and I highly recommend it.
The other Spicewood Springs area I love is the “teen porch.” The south side of the building features a long, narrow space with a few chairs and shelves filled with graphic novels and YA titles. The area is a little isolated, and separate from the children’s area – offering teens a little bit of privacy to hang out, and chat. It’s a neat spot and I had to act fast to snap a picture when the area wasn’t in use.
Admittedly though, the library area where I spend the most time is the children’s section – currently working my way through the 921 section of the Dewey classification system: biographies (specifically, picture book biographies.) Homework for Donna Janell Bowman’s class at The Writing Barn – I’m officially a “teaching assistant” for the class, but my ulterior motive is to learn as much as I can from this amazingly talented author.