Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Library Tour: Main Branch

Ahoy there, maties!  All you jack tars seekin' to add the treasures of Summer Reading to your duffle bag need look no farther than the shores of the Great Piratopia of Mainiac Island (Main Library)!  His Majesty Kevin, King of the storied, swashbuckling outpost of Mainiac Island & Pirates & Libraries, & his most piratical crew would have it no other way!  You don't have to go all the way to Davy Jones' locker to find Mainiac's treasure chest, & Admiral Natasha, Commodore Veronica, & Captain Rachel will keep you so entertained you'll be ready to dance a hornpipe! So, me lads & lasses, head smartly down to Mainiac Island & don't give me any bilge talk!

Has any branch taken its role as a purveyor of Summer Reading adventure more seriously than Main Library?  The jury's still out on that one...but you should definitely make "Mainiac Island" one of the stops on your summer peregrinations & check it out! Bust out your Summer Reading passport & show those nautical types Downtown that you are a true drivelswigger (one who reads about nautical terms too much)!  Or maybe that's just me.. Argh...

Main Library is located at 501 Copper NW, a light brown brick building on Copper Avenue between 5th and 6th Streets downtown-for directions by car or bus, visit the ABC Libraries' website. Opened in 1975, it was designed by local architect George Pearl, whose striking modern interpretation of traditional southwest architecture received a design award from the American Institute of Architects.The library has 39 public computers including 4 express and 4 children's and 3 for teens (the children's & teen terminals are downstairs in Main's Childrens Room. Main also offers many of the standard amenities of the ABC Libraries' branches: fax service; voter registration forms, None for the Road DVDs, & bus schedules are all available, but the branch does not have a magazine swap. Main Library has an auditorium, a community meeting room & 5 study room for public use.

Main Library is unique in our system for having 3 floors! Upstairs is ABC Libraries' Customer Services & the Genealogy Collection (it has been decided that the collection will not return to the Special Collections branch when it reopens in August or September), as well as adminstrative offices. Main's genealogy area is a great space for the new genealogy researcher.  They have charts to start your family tree, a genealogy computer lab, modern microfilm machines, & access to & Heritage Quest. The New Mexico Genealogical Society has an office there; there are volunteers in the library every day to help you & you will have access to Journal obituaries & other resources compiled by the society.  Also, looking for an old yearbook?  We've got them!

On the ground floor, you can find the central check-out, Information Desk, most of the public computers, & fiction & non-fiction for adults.  I like the big, helpful subject signs in non-fiction!  There is a lot of seating, including the bistro tables, where you can eat & drink items bought in  the ABQ Coffee Connection, Main's coffee shop!

I took advantage of  the early morning hours to stop in at the ABQ Coffee Connection for a cup of joe & a breakfast burrito (served from 8 - 10 a.m.), which really hit the spot!  Open for both breakfast & lunch, the Coffee Connection has a nice menu (the bistro desserts looked yummy) & when you buy a 12 oz. bag of beans, all profits benefits The Friends for the Public Library!

Heading downstairs, you will find the Friends' Bookshop & the site of the monthly Used Booksales.  You do not want to miss  those!  Most of the items donated to the library end up at these sales, & the money that is raised funds library programs.  The auditorium (where the author events co-sponsored with our community partner, Bookworks, are held) is also on this level.

Also downstairs you'll find the Children's Room & the Teen Zone! As I noted earlier, those Mainiacs have gone all out decorating for Summer Reading, but wait, there's more!  In the Story Pit, there will be Pirate movies on Fridays! There are 3 weekly storytimes plus Read to the Dogs!  & teens will be able to build a robot and/or stencil T-shirts.  After these events, you can kick back in the patio area outside of the Children's Room.

Apart from children's programming, Main Library also offers free one-on-one computer sessions on Thursday afternoons. Stop by the info desk or call 768-5141 during business hours for more information or to sign up.  For a list of all events, visit the library's webpage.

I think there are already a lot of great reasons to visit Main Library this summer, because, in addition to all the things I've already mentioned, there's more!  Main has a lot of art in & around it, much of it a permanent collection, part of the 1% for Art program.  When I visited, there was an antique bottle display; A Celebration of Cats, from various elementary schools; the monographic prints of ARTEXT; Don Quixote: An Appreciative Selection...the list just goes on.  Even the pirate ship in the Children's Room was donated by the Albuquerque Museum & there is a new sculpture in the Tom & Jo Thomason Garden on the patio!

You really have no excuse not to stop by Mainiac Island this summer!  In fact, you can get your parking validated if you park in the parking garage on the southeast corner of 5th & Copper...& the  library has its own bus stop!  But, if you are looking for other things to do in the area...may I suggest a stop by the KiMo Theater?  A visit to to 516 Arts, a nonprofit artspace? A stop by the Downtown Grower's Market?  The Harwood Art Center, the Albuquerque Museum, & all of Old Town are just a hop, skip & a  jump away!  & if you need a nosh, consider Cecilia's Cafe (featured on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives) or the inspired modern cuisine of the Slate Street Cafe.

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