Perhaps many Mercantile Library patrons, when visiting other cities, seek out the main library of the metropolis, if only for a quick lookabout. Helps one take the measure of a place. I most recently set foot in the Cleveland and Denver public libraries. Cleveland retains its grand and aspirational 1925 beaux arts building, but added the forbidding and fortress-like Louis Stokes Wing in 1997. The Batman bibliothèque:
Whimsy on such a grand scale made me feel very small indeed, like a shrinking Alice. And it was good to make a virtual visit to the 1874 Cincinnati Public Library on Vine Street between Sixth and Seventh, courtesy of a recent post by Nemo. Even if he did somewhat unkindly call it an “elegant” if “outmoded filing cabinet.”
When next in McAllen, Texas, the second-largest city before the debouchment of the Rio Grande into the Gulf of Mexico, I will certainly visit the abandoned Walmart that was converted into what claims to be, at 123,000 square feet, the largest one-floor library (“One floor, a million stories!”) in the nation:
The average Walmart Super Center these days measures in at just under 200,000 sq feet. An exemplary transformation for that space. Good Walmarts, when they die, go to the library.
Not that I am sniffy about mercantile places.