Our Favorite Libraries

I’m not sure if it’s the lingering image of Belle’s incredible library or the fact that I got most of my childhood books from my local branch, but I love libraries! Something about the idea of a building dedicated entirely to books calls to me. (Plus, I secretly want one of those rolling library ladders.) It’s truly a great way to open the world of reading to anyone.
I’ve been in a lot of brilliant libraries over the years—small town, big city, winding staircases, dim lighting, you name it—but a few stand out as closest to my heart.

The Pauline Haass Public Library – Sussex, WI
This was my hometown library growing up. The original small, ranch-style building underwent a massive expansion and remodel just before I began high school. I still remember the musty smell of that old building. You had to comb through the books to find the one you wanted, and I thought it was a fabulous treasure hunt. I devoured Lois Walfrid Johnson’s Adventures of the Northwoods here.

When I was in high school, I organized the library’s Read Week with books, finger-painting and games galore for the kids. I worked closely with the Children’s Librarian until she left to pursue her Ph.D. in literacy education, and I still remember her as a great inspiration for my own writing path. (Mrs. B if you’re reading this *wave*)

Trinity College Library – Dubin, Ireland
If you haven’t gone to Trinity yet, buy your plane ticket right now. This place filled me with awe as no other library could. There is a sense of sacred legacy for all the texts that line Trinity’s shelves. The Long Room in particular took my breath away. It is exactly how I picture a library is meant to look, and I had to fight a temptation to jump the velvet ropes to read the ancient spines more closely. (I mean, there are two gorgeous floors of books and all I get to do is walk down one measly aisle?!) Also be sure to see Trinity’s illuminated manuscript collection and the Book of Kells. The time and painstaking attention to detail in these manuscripts kinda puts e-books to shame.

Milwaukee Public Library – Milwaukee, WI
It’s got a great selection and the architecture is stunning! I actually based one of my fictional castles after elements of this building. A few years ago, I did a “Royal Reading Event” for a client with three classrooms of first graders and Belle from Beauty and the Beast. It was incredible to see the kids’ faces as she read to them—that’s the power of a library.

So, what are your favorite libraries? Give them a shout-out!


  1. Very cool post. I've been known to scour the internet for pictures of cool libraries... I still walk to my local library once or twice a week.

  2. Thanks Hektor. I just ran to my local branch yesterday! Gotta love it when you can get a little exercise AND new books.

  3. Given how many books I check out -- carrying them home is definitely a form of exercise. :)