Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How Do I Love Libraries…Let Me Count The Ways…Part II

One of the things I kind of fail at when I travel is being very, very diligent about opening and closing hours and days for the attractions I want to visit.  For some reason, I forget that places I want to visit might be closed on say, Mondays.  It’s perfectly reasonable that a library might be closed on Monday or that a planetarium might close at 4 p.m., but none-the-less it rarely occurs to me to double-check when I’m arranging my trip’s Excel spreadsheet.  Thank goodness fountains generally are open dusk to dawn!

Buckingham Fountain, Chicago

So, on the list of libraries I failed to visit because I wasn’t paying attention is Chicago’s Pritzker Military Library. Sadly, I walked past it literally a dozen times on the preceding days but didn’t step inside since I was otherwise distracted with my friend’s wedding.  As Monday arrived and we were wrapping up our trip, I had hoped to make a visit on the way to catch the train to the airport.  But…no luck.

I was slightly saved from complete and abject failure of library-visiting on this trip by touring a splendid former library building.  The Chicago Cultural Center is housed in what was Chicago’s original central library when it was completed in 1897.  The Preston Bradley Hall, with the world’s largest Tiffany dome, is one of the most fabulous spaces I have ever visited, hands down.  The mosaics surrounding the 30,000ish piece glass dome literally sparkle and I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped when I stepped in and looked up. It used to be the room where collections were delivered to people so they could read through them. The photos say it best:

Preston Bradley Hall Tiffany Dome

Preston Bradley Hall Tiffany Dome

Wherever you are, or wherever you are going, I hope there is a library visit soon!