We started our journey with a visit to Fairwood. Nestled amongst many residential areas, the library and lot present a very welcoming oasis. Once inside, we headed straight for the information desk, where we met the delightful Bernadette. She is the children’s librarian for the cluster and we caught her just before she headed to Southcenter for a Recess Monkey show. In addition to learning about all the things that make this cluster special, we also learned that the O’Brien Garden Club maintains the beautiful plants outside of the library. Before we departed for the Highlands, we also met Peter, who was kind enough to look up a few details about Fairwood for us. (It’s such a sunny, spacious floor plan, that I’m shocked it’s only half the size of Redmond!)
After Fairwood, we headed up into the Renton Highlands. At this branch, Angie, the Managing Librarian for the cluster, gave us a tour of the art in the building, including a particularly relevant piece from Renton’s history, Coal Miners by Jacob Elshin which dates from the Works Progress Administration. She also relayed stories on how wonderfully involved Renton neighborhoods are in their communities. There are 59 recognized neighborhoods and the city has an amazing Picnic Program to honor them!
We also departed Renton Highlands with a brunch recommendation from Angie – an Irish pub near the downtown Renton library named A Terrible Beauty. As an Eggs Benedict fan(atic), Chris was hooked as soon as she heard “9 different kinds of”. I happen to be leaving for Ireland for a two week trip on Wednesday, so I figured it was a sign we should eat there. And we were so glad we did! I devoured 2 eggs, a rasher, and 2 huge slices of French toast. Similarly, Chris enjoyed her eggs and we both pretty much needed a nap after eating. But, we had our most anticipated library visit yet to come!
The downtown Renton library is uniquely situated over the Cedar River. Yep – on a bridge over the river. Looking out the windows that face the river is a very unique library experience, to say the least! We met Laurie at the information desk and she gave us a great tour of the building. She told us about salmon spawning season and the naturalists that are available at the bridge at the library entrance to answer questions as patrons enter. This library also has an extensive Pacific Northwest section as well as deep resources on Renton and surrounding areas. I also loved the cases available for kids to display their collections. There’s at least a year waiting list for the opportunity to display!
We had such a great day in the Renton area. We were greeted so enthusiastically at each of the libraries, it’s easy to see why patrons are so passionately connected to their local libraries!