Posted by: libraryexplorer | November 30, 2010

Grand Rapids Public Library

I recently visited my sister in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She accompanied me to the downtown branch of the Grand Rapids Public Library. It is an old building that has been renovated and added on to in recent years. The front entrance is a gorgeous stone facade. Steps lead right up to the door, but fortunately there is a ramp that comes from the right side for accessibility.

The steps leading up to the front door are impressive.

Welcome to Grand Rapids Public Library

The exterior is impressive, and the interior is gorgeous. Meijer’s, a chain of stores, donated a good amount to ensure the inside walls are covered with marble. Tile mosaics cover the floor of the entire front lobby, which contains the circulation desk.

The long, winding staircase up to the second floor has plaques hanging on the walls to thank all the partners and sponsors of the renovation.

One room on the second floor looks like the Parliamentary library in Ottawa. There are high ceilings and large windows, and large reading tables with desk lamps for better light.

Further past the reading room was a cafe called Dewey’s Retreats. A cute name for a library coffee and sandwich shop.

Once we walked through the cafe we saw the five storey addition. Where the old library joins the new addition is a large airy, open space that has balconies all around. The storeys do not line up, but are easily accessible by stair or elevator. This is where we encountered the best library Christmas decoration I’ve ever seen!

A christmas tree made out of books stacked up six feet high. CDs hang off the "tree" like ornaments.

Christmas at the Grand Rapids Public Library!

A book tree! What an inspired idea!

The children’s section was enormous. It had plenty of large windows and a program room at the far end. There is only one way to enter the children’s section – by going past the children’s circulation desk – so library staff can keep an eye on strangers, unsafe behaviours, and unsupervised children.

Due to safety reasons I chose not to take pictures while looking at the children’s section. I did not want parents to think I was taking photos of their child(ren).

Speaking of children’s services. On the side lawn of the GRPL we saw a great piece of public art. I don’t know the title of the art, but it shows an old-fashioned story time. My story sessions don’t involve a large rocking chair; I prefer to sit closer to the floor.


A collection of five statues made out of junk metal. It shows a librarian reading a book to four children. One child is holding a ball.

Stories from a Librarian



This is a lovely picture of a librarian sharing her love for reading with four children and a dog.

Just as a side note. My blog states the I’m exploring libraries across Canada. Michigan is outside my domain, but it was worth branching out.


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