Why I Love... Surprise Libraries

On Monday, The Husband and I took a tour of the US Naval Observatory. Part of that tour included a stop at their library. I had no idea that was part of the tour and it was stunning!

The room was one large, circular space with two stories of stacks. Lovely, iron spiral staircases on opposite ends of the room led to the second floor area. The room itself was domed with a large chandelier lighting up the space. Beneath the chandelier, there was a fountain. A fountain! I wish my office had a water feature.

The collection has a mix of old and new books. Like every library, there were titles that are meant to be used - i.e. current journals and monographs on science. There were also some parts of the collection that were simply for display. In a rare books display case, there was a book from 1430, a copy of Newton's Principia, and a copy of Galileo's Dialogues. It's a good thing those items were under glass because I want to leaf through them so badly!

Surprise library visits are awesome. It's so cool to see a new library space and collection. Every library has its own vibe and personality. This room felt both academic and military. As a part of the US Navy, that made sense. There was something about the space that made it feel like you could be productive, but there was no overly hushed tone. It was a comfortable room that was both cozy and majestic.

Before tour ended, our guide shared a fun anecdote, "You can spend more time in this space by calling us and saying the magic words... 'I have research to complete.'"