Now that things are open again, Tom and I have been exploring Westerville. Recently we went to the Westerville Public Library for the first time and got a library card. I’ve always had library cards wherever we lived. Why buy a book when I can get it at the library? I have especially cut back on owning books since we moved into an RV. I don’t generally reread a book, so why buy it and have it taking up space?
We already had a Columbus Metropolitan Library card which I got when we started using John and Jackie’s address as our own. I also got a library card when we worked on San Juan Island in Washington State and another on St. Simons Island in Georgia. All of the cards have been free except for the one in Georgia, which cost $20 because we were non-residents.
The Columbus Metropolitan Library is a huge system with 23 different branches, most within the I-270 circle. I have used this system extensively over the last seven years. When we are in town, we like to go to the library. When we are out of town, I get lots of e-books through the library. I have been able to get about 80% of the books I wanted to read in e-books through the Columbus Metropolitan Library. They are also part of the Central Library Consortium, which allows me to check out books from even more places. In fact, the only library in Franklin or Delaware County that isn’t in the Central Library Consortium is – you guessed it – the Westerville Library.
The Westerville Library keeps its system separate from all the other library systems around. I’m not sure why. Maybe they don’t want the riffraff from Powell coming in to use the library. But the system is separate, which required going to the Westerville Library and acquiring another card.
The Westerville Public Library is a huge, beautiful building located in Uptown Westerville. Just like other big city downtown libraries, the Westerville Library has its own parking garage. It also has a really big parking lot that can hold at least a hundred cars. When we walked in the Westerville Library, we were impressed by the three story glass atrium. It had its own coffee shop and lounge area.
The service desk is to the right in the atrium, and the helpful librarian got a card for us and then gave us a brief overview of the library. The multi-media room and children’s department was to the right. The museum was behind us. All the other books and computer services were up the grand staircase to the left.
I checked out the small new-release section downstairs and took a look at the art gallery in the multi-media room. Tom, of course, headed for the non-fiction section upstairs. I joined him after browsing a bit downstairs. The fiction section was excellent and there were plenty of books in the non-fiction section in which I was interested. I soon had a collection of six books to check out. Tom is a lot pickier about the books he gets – he needs very in-depth information – and he didn’t find anything he wanted to check out.
Checking out the books was easy at the self-checkout desk. I swiped my library card, then swiped the books under the scanner. When I was done, I could choose a printed receipt or an e-mailed receipt.
The old part of the Westerville Public Library was the National Anti-Saloon League Headquarters. When the Anti-Saloon League shut down, it donated the building to the city of Westerville, which converted the building into the public library. Although the street-side exterior maintains this historic look, the inside of the library is totally remodeled and expanded. The Westerville Library still maintains the Anti-Saloon League Museum in the building.
The Westerville Public Library has lots of special events and displays through the year. There is a model train display during December and concerts in the Atrium on Sundays in December. Tom and I will probably take advantage of some of these offerings through the year. The public library is much more than just a place for books these days.