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📷 Angles of the Gem – Austin’s New Central Library

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.

The Backstory

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 Treasures

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.

The Reading Porch is a sunny area on the third floor, outside the children’s book section. Here in the sun room, we enjoyed some luxurious RR&R (rest, relaxation, and reading).

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.

The Angles

As if “square” does not exist here, the library’s architecture is interesting in its artful angles, with long straight lines that take us places in our imagination.

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.

Here, we see the second floor, third floor, and fourth floor, with natural light shining onto the people enjoying the library’s many levels.

The sixth floor balcony view allows us to see Town Lake and the Cesar Chavez street.

The Rooftop Garden is vibrant with native plants and butterflies.

The Gift

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.

Our three kids are delighted with the new library. Inside and outside, this gem of a place is a fabulous addition to our already brilliant and beautiful city.

Warmly,

Kat Lindsay

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