Friday, September 4, 2009

A Library with no Books?

My husband and I are planning a road trip towards the end of this month that will wind from Chicago to Cleveland, on to Philadelphia, and through all the states in New England.  As we've been chatting with people more familiar with those areas on what we should see and do, the Haskell Free Library and Opera House was mentioned.

Reading Room with International BoundaryBuilt between 1904-05, this unique institution straddles the U.S. and Canadian border between Derby Line, VT and Stanstead, QC.  A thick black line runs through the opera house and reading room of the library to denote which country you are visiting.  The book collection and opera stage are in Canada, the front door and much of the opera seating is in the U.S. Therefore, the U.S. library technically contains no books!

Both Americans and Canadians sit on the Board of Trustees. As expected, the book collection features both English and French. And imagine having to go through customs to see a show: the opera house website parking instruction reads "Visitors from Canada must park on the Canadian side or report to U.S. Customs." 


Right now, the library is about 4 hours round-trip out of our current route. . .but we might decide to take a jaunt farther north.  If not, I'll be thinking of it as we motor and hike our way through Vermont!


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