If you wistfully remember Patience and Fortitude, regally guarding the Beaux-Arts building on 5th Avenue and 42nd Street, you should give the main branch of the Nashville Public Library a chance. Located downtown at 615 Church Street, the library, like the Beaux-Arts branch in New York, is like a museum. Everything is pristine. The grand central lobby shows NYPL’s current celebration, best viewed from above as you lean over one of the balconies. The Civil Rights Room is a beautiful tribute to Nashville’s role in the Movement, complete with a lunch counter that displays the rules for nonviolent protesters. The teen book room alone made me want to morph back to my 17-year old self for the first time ever. The library also boasts a sunny courtyard and fountain, a large special collection, kids’ crafts and story time, and a photography exhibit.
I only poked around for a couple hours, but it was by far the most relaxing afternoon I’ve had in a long, long time. I haven’t known the warm smile of a librarian in ages, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the libraries in New York are frequently smelly and kind of gross. I’m excited to check out some NPL events, too.