I was in Austin, Texas the week of 05/23/2022, the same week of the School Shooting Massacre In Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday 05/24/2022. I was staying in downtown Austin, where my partner John was attending a multiple day work meeting with his leadership team.
Tuesday 05/24/2022 I was coming out of the hotel gym after a great workout, about to go back to my hotel room, shower and then spend the day exploring downtown Austin, when I passed by the hotel bar area where news of the shooting was being broadcast.
I stood there dumbfounded and in shock, surround by other hotel guests who were equally in shock. The school shooting occurred 10 days after another horrible mass shooting that shook me to my core – the Buffalo, NY Grocery Store Shooting.
John was in a work meeting and could not be disturbed so I was left to spend the rest of the day in distress, flipping from news channel to news channel to find out more and more disturbing details while sobbing.
That evening I went to dinner an evening boat tour to see the bats that live under one of the bridges on the river that runs through downtown Austin, with John and his colleagues. At dinner we kept the conversation as light as we could and several of his Austin based colleagues talked about the amazing Central Library in downtown Austin.
Library? An awesome library?!?! Those of you who have followed my blog for a while know that I am obsessed with public libraries. I’ve loved libraries since I was young (9 or 10?) and spent a summer at the public library nearly every day, riding my bike to the library every day and befriending the kind librarians who worked at the library and took me under their wing.
John’s colleagues mentioned that the Austin Central Library had a rooftop garden and amazing architecture.
Libraries to me are nearly sacred peaceful oases. I knew that Wednesday I needed to visit the Austin Central Library.
And I did. And it was a peaceful oasis and my spirit was centered and calmed for a couple blissful hours.
Here is the photo essay about that visit.
I walked a mile through the beautiful park (River Metro park?) along the Colorado River running through downtown Austin to the Central Library. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and in another post I will share photos from that walk as well as other photos of downtown Austin.
I entered the library on a lower level and I tingled with anticipation. Here are the stairs that greeted me that I could not wait to climb:
Before ascending the stairs, I noticed the library had an amazing high tech book return station:
After ascending the stairs, and being the library geek I am, I stopped at the information booth, informed the library team member who greeted me that it was my first visit to the library (and how excited I was to be there) and got a map to guide me through the library.
The library’s interior was amazing. The library has 6 levels, connecting with lofty ascending staircases. I explored all 6 levels!
The library has a huge clock that it can be viewed from any level and is as tall as a level or more:
This window, viewable from many levels, is just breathtaking:
I already heard about the rooftop deck and was planning on making that my last stop after exploring the other levels but then I discovered the library had a READING PORCH and I started on a mission to put together a “library stack” to take out to the reading porch.
I headed to my favorite section – Non Fiction – 700s to put together my stack!
I took my lovely “library stack” to the reading porch and spent a couple hours reading books as well as having a little picnic lunch I put together on the enclosed porch with views of downtown Austin:
It was so amazingly peaceful on the reading porch and I could only hear the bird song (there were trees filled with birds near the porch) and the sounds of traffic below. It was such a wonderful place to read my “library stack”(which I could only read/look through at the library since I was not a local resident).
After a couple hours in the reading porch and some reading of/flipping through the books in my stack, I returned them for re-shelving inside, and then wandered additional levels until I got to the rooftop deck.
A couple fun standouts on my way to the rooftop deck include the “Technology Petting Zoo” and the Board Game area – where you could grab a board game and play games with friends/family at the library!
I was not sure what to expect of a library’s rooftop deck but I was pleasantly surprised! It was huge, filled with people reading, visiting and lounging about. It had a garden area and amazing views of downtown Austin!
Here are some of the photos I took while on the rooftop deck:
I was craving something sweet and after the rooftop deck, I headed back to the ground floor of the library and had a cupcake at the library’s cafe called the Cookbook Bar & Cafe.
And guess what – the cafe was filled with used cookbooks! You could browse/flip through cookbooks while you ate (and I did) – it was glorious (and the cupcake I had was glorious!):
With my belly full of delicious cupcake and my spirit soothed by the energy of a public library, I headed back to my hotel, enjoying the scenery immediately outside of the library on my route back to my hotel.
I took a ridiculous amount of photos but I tried to select the photos that would give you a general idea of how awesome the Austin Central Library was to visit. Here is a little video tour if you are wanting more:
Oh and I thought this was pretty cool – I’ve never seen a library do this!