Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Library Tour: Ernie Pyle Branch

Pick up a postcard & a brief history of Ernie Pyle & the library when you stop by!

As your friendly roving library reporter, I am ready to do what it takes to entertain you.  I not only visited Ernie Pyle Library, I worked there all day to get the full flavor of the place! It was a fun day, & I learned a lot from the friendly & helpful staff. This branch is certainly not your average library. Opened as the first branch library on October 11, 1948, this house was the home of roving columnist Ernie Pyle, his wife Jerry, & Cheetah the dog from 1940 until the deaths of Ernie & Jerry in 1945.  They bequeathed their home to the City of Albuquerque. Ernie Pyle Library houses a number of Pyle's personal items & memorabilia, & a memorial, Brave Men by Williard Schroeder, is located on the south lawn.  In 2006, the library was awarded Historic Landmark Status.

Ernie Pyle Library outdoor attractions: Brave Men memorial, porch built by Ernie Pyle, turtle bench, & Cheetah's grave.

Ernie Pyle Library ("Isle de Pyle" on your Summer Reading passport) is located at 900 Girard SE, a small white house with green awnings in the residential neighborhood halfway between Central Avenue & Gibson Blvd at the corner of Santa Monica Street and Girard SE. Visit the library system website for driving directions & bus routes. The library offers many of the ABC Libraries' typical amenities-there are 2 public computers available, a fax service, & materials such as voter registration forms & bus schedules can be picked up here.  Ernie Library has no study rooms or community room for public use.

Once inside the library, you will find it is quite tiny. Every closet & window ledge is in use! & the sign on the circulation desk is not joking-you do return your items in the kitchen, where books are also checked in & a Brita water pitcher functions as a water fountain.  To get to the children's room, you will walk through the kitchen.

Scattered around the library (don't miss the pictures above the windows- I did on my first go-around!) is the library's collection of Ernie Pyle memorabilia.  There is a display case by the DVDs, but the curious will find many more artifacts in the branch's five rooms.  I was particularly smitten with G.I. Joe doll. 

The day I worked at Ernie Pyle, they had their first Picnic Storytime of the summer, held on the north lawn on Wednesdays at 11:30. The Picnic Storytime has won several local accolades & usually makes the list of fun things to do in town during the summer! Preschoolers and their families are invited to hear stories beneath the beautiful sycamore tree, & bring a blanket and a picnic lunch.  You can read about Picnic Storytime & other programs at Ernie Pyle Library on the library's website.  The branch will also be featuring Read to the Dogs storytimes in the summer, & their Summer Reading events include Magician John Polinko & Musical Instruments from Around the World with Michael Stanwood.  Additionally, those interested in Ernie Pyle will find the "Who was Ernie Pyle?" section of the website informative.  You can check the catalog under the subject heading Pyle Ernie 1900 1945 for books by & about Mr. Pyle.

Unleash your reading superhero at Ernie Pyle this summer!  With its close proximity to the University & Nob Hill areas, you will be able to while away many hours during your trip shopping (many cute little stores like Papers & The Yarn Store at Nob Hill), eating (try some international cuisine at Annapurna's World Vegetarian Cafe or get a caffeinated beverage at Café Giuseppe) & maybe even taking in a Mom's Matinee selection at the Guild Cinema (the last Saturday & Sunday of each month) or the Will Power Summer Shakespeare Festival at The Vortex! Or, if you'd rather picnic & play, Hyder Park, one of my favorite Albuquerque parks, is right around the corner.

Ernie Pyle Library is also featured in the book Heart of the Community: The Libraries We Love : Treasured Libraries of the United States and Canada, edited by Karen Christensen and David Levinson, which you can find in the ABC Libraries catalog.

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