Is it possible to have a love affair with a building? Mountain Home has a new library and it is one of my favorite places in all the world. Every single detail of this structure makes me happy — from the coffee shop inside, to the fireplace and big leather chairs. I want to spend every spare minute of my time here. Thankfully, my husband and friends do too!
The river is such a huge part of life in Baxter County, and a local couple, R. Scott and Neilla Flanagin, created the river mosaic that runs for 200 feet through the library. My favorite accent tile is the dragonfly, of course, but the snake is pretty awesome too!
The library has beautiful artwork throughout, and used a consultant to select the best of Arkansas’ artists to showcase. My favorite piece is a metal sculpture that looks like an abstract, but the light above reflects a pattern of books on the wall. I’ve seen many visitors standing in front of the sculpture with their mouths hanging open trying to figure out how the curved metal circles make the shadow effect of books on the wall.
The big fireplace in the center of the main level offers the most relaxing spot in the library. Tables are topped with copper and the chairs are leather and comfy enough to snuggle into. More great art surrounds you in this space and the light from an abundance of windows makes you drowsy as you become involved in a good book or magazine. I told a friend of mine who works at the library that they might find me in my pj’s curled up in front of that fireplace one Saturday morning.
The children’s area downstairs is designed expertly for tiny readers. They have lots of computers of their very own, a big tree in the center of their area, and a gazebo that craftsmen made from leftover lumber, once the library was complete. The light fixtures are my favorite things in the children’s area, however. How super-cool are these silver halogen pieces of art?
Thankfully, the library board recognized the kind of place this building would be for the community and committed themselves to making it appealing to all. A local coffee shop moved to the library when it opened and it’s one of my favorite lunch spots. Since it’s right across the street from the college, I find myself enjoying their quiche and sandwiches quite often. As a bonus, if you have a lid on the coffee you buy there, you can slip it into the library, which makes for a particularly wonderful treat!
Our library is a model for small rural towns, but would be the envy of large metropolitan cities as well. What a beautiful way to nurture readers and to encourage a literate community. Thank you to the Baxter County Library and to the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation for such an incredible gift. One day in the coffee shop, a friend said to me, “We really do live at the end of the rainbow, don’t we?” and I agreed. I look forward to continuing my love affair with this building for many years to come!
February is “Love Your Library” month. Express your love for the Baxter County Library by picking up a heart, and writing the library a little love note. Your note will be added to the “Love Your Library” display downstairs.