Our diamond of a city just became even more bright and shiny with our new Central Library. Austin’s new six-story library is filled with natural light that pours through gigantic windows and well-placed clerestories, beaming sunshine into every floor. This makes it a joyous adventure to climb upward, experiencing every level of our library, from the ground floor amphitheater to the rooftop garden.
We remember being in the voting booths in 2006, when we said “Yes!” to pass a $90 million bond that funded most of this building’s construction. The estimated total expense was $125 million, according to Mayor Steve Adler, in his opening-day speech. We believe this is an investment in our city’s well-being, because this library is a very special public place that is already rallying our community together.
The Children’s section is located on the third floor, where circular windows invite the kids to imagine they’re in a submarine, or a spaceship. Here, the Creative Commons area draws children for arts and crafts and building blocks. 8-year-old Daniel informs us: “These are not real LEGOs.” Instead, they’re the slightly larger LEGO blocks for preschoolers, called DUPLOs.
Rosalie found a book she can “read.” It’s a My Little Pony graphic novel. According to the Austin American-Statesman, this library is twice as big as the former Central Library, holding all of the former library’s books plus another 300,000!
Looking up from the ground floor, the atrium is a sky-high open space with layers and layers of criss-crossing stairways, along with this 37-foot-tall pendulum clock inspired by Austin’s grackle population. This sculpture is called “Caw,” by Christian Moeller.
Transparent walls line the sides of the stairways, so we can see the view as we climb sky high. 3-year-old Gabriel crawled part of the way, because he was scared, until I lifted him up. 🙂 At times, it feels like we’re inside of an M.C. Escher artwork.
The building’s exterior is an attractive addition to the Austin cityscape. Along with the natural elements of the trees and creek, the library brings liveliness to the heart of our city. It feels like this garden is blooming.