The Libraries of Capitol Hill


September 8, 2011, Washington, DC: The third day of an extraordinarily sopping rain seems like a good time for a nod to our neighborhood libraries. Libraries are ideal shelters on days like today, when nothing sounds better than hunkering down with a good book.

But here is my hushed confession about libraries: I have completely taken them for granted.

As a student at Columbia, I should have appreciated the university libraries more, but spaces like Butler Library, a mere twenty yards from my door, were buildings in which I rarely chose to study. Now I regret not making better use of these havens packed with countless resources, impressive architectural details, and amazing opportunities for collaboration. Nor did I make good use of great city libraries in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. I had a library card to San Francisco’s Chinatown library down the street that I only very occasionally used.

I have a chance to redeem myself living on Capitol Hill. How can I not when I walk by the library dropbox six times a day? If there were ever a place to visit libraries, to work in them, to take shelter in them, to appreciate their collections, their exhibits, and their details, this is it. A stone’s throw from home is the southeast branch of the DC Public Library, as well as the Library of Congress and the Shakespeare Library. I finally have a library card to the public library's branch on the corner. There is no excuse. It is time to make amends and get to know my neighborhood libraries one step at a time.

If you're also ready to commit to our neighborhood libraries, take note of these upcoming reasons to go:

September 10: Monthly Book Sale, D.C. Public Library Southeast Branch, 10:30 a.m. More Southeast Branch events listed here.

September 24 and 25: National Book Festival, sponsored by the Library of Congress, on the National Mall

October 10: Library of Congress Main Reading Room Open House More Library of Congress exhibits and events listed here.

October 18-November 27: Othello, performed at Folger Elizabethan Theatre Click here for more details about What's On at Folger Shakespeare Library.