Monday, August 10, 2009

#6: Kensington-Normal Heights Branch

Visiting Time: 1:00-2:30PM
Did I get lost on my way? No
Book Checked Out: The Average American (Kevin O'Keefe)

Book Selection: 1 bookmark
Seating: 2 bookmarks
Staff: 4 bookmarks
Architecture/Atmosphere: 4 bookmarks
Total: 11 bookmarks

I spoke with a librarian named Kathy, who told me that this is the smallest branch (2,318 square feet) but has the largest circulation per square foot.

She directed me to a book, Kensington-Talmadge 1910-1997, which gives a full history of the neighborhood and its library. It cost $7,000 to build (including furniture!), and was opened in 1937. In 1962, it was remodeled to increase square footage; if you look at the above picture, the Spanish tile gabled roof is the original one.

The library was built on park land, and in 1983 a children's playground was installed. While in the library, it was nice to stroll the aisles and hear children playing outside. I doubt the building has a/c, so the windows were all opened and let in this great breeze.

Yesterday, Bryan thought the RB was claustrophobic, despite its tall ceilings. Kensington, the tiniest branch in the city, felt cozy and communal.

I checked out The Average American. As I'm on this thirty-six-day library mission, I think I was drawn to the author's own mission, which was to find the quintessential average joe/joan.

Because I'm checking out a book a day and for only a day, it's not possible to read them cover to cover. Before starting this project, I had been a read-every-word type of reader. The title page, the dedication, the foreword, the afterword. And even, when I'm feeling punchy, the note on the type. But this experience is changing my relationship with books. Of course they're written with the intention of being read from one cover to the other. But you can also read parts of a book and then turn it back in and be completely satisfied. I am certainly exposing myself to things I wouldn't otherwise know about.

(One photo pretty much captures the whole library.)

(Kensington history book.)

(Children's play area next to the library.)

No comments: