The common lament these days is that books are disappearing in favor of electronic options. But that doesn’t mean people don’t still enjoy the feeling of a real book in their hands. Libraries are still very much a staple of communities across the United States. Whether you’re looking for a little quiet time to do some studying or you simply can’t find that old favorite book from your childhood, stop at one of these 10 awesome libraries in Michigan.
Part of the University of Michigan's law school in Ann Arbor, the William W. Cook Legal Research Library took a nod from Business Insider as Michigan's most beautiful library. Being Business Insider, of course, it had some objective backing on that one, as the library took home the AIA Michigan 2011 Design Excellence Award. The award cited recent restoration and renovation projects, and given that the library features not only stained glass windows but also Samuel Yellin metalwork, it's one of Michigan's finest.
Michigan's second largest library system behind only the University of Michigan Library, the fourth largest public library system and the 21st largest library system in the United States are all found in Detroit, in the Detroit Public Library. It's not just size that makes this one—the combination of Vermont marble and Italian marble trim, designed by the man who designed the Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C., make this edifice one of Detroit's crown jewels. Check out the mosaic and mural displays for a touch of art with your reading.
Kalamazoo's Public Library, several branches strong, took Bustle's nod for Michigan's best library thanks to its combination of obvious public support, its community outreach programs, and its deeply passionate staff who's eager to help patrons find just the right book. It's not all about the books, though, as the library even offers special events like the upcoming Overdue Brew event, connecting visitors to the area's craft beer and wine circuit.
In 2008, the Chelsea District Library in Chelsea landed a slot as the “Best Small Library in America” by Library Journal and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It's been acting like it ever since, offering up a range of programs designed to get the community reading. From murder mysteries to film series, Kindles for loan that already come loaded with the most popular content, to even a variety of special events, the Chelsea District Library is eager to prove its 2008 win is every bit as valid today as it was a decade ago.
It's hard to pass up a Carnegie library for inclusion on a “best” list, and Jackson District Library in Jackson makes it easier to go with it by dint of still being a library. Featuring a children's storytelling room, a room specifically for history, lobby space and plenty more, the Jackson District Library has been a historical site in Michigan since 1979. One year later, it was elevated to National Historical site status as well. It's more than just looks that make this a winner, though, as plenty of special events from yoga to drop-in tech help keep patrons coming back.
From book signings and other special events to a community bookmobile, the Rochester Hills Public Library in Rochester Hills is one of Michigan's leading lights in libraries. They've even got a string of downloadable books and magazines, which can be downloaded or read as part of a web browser. The eBooks actually return themselves automatically at the end of the lending duration, so there's never an overdue fee involved. That combination of technology and old-fashioned community devotion makes Rochester Hills a winner.
It shouldn't surprise anyone that the state's capital, Lansing, contains one of Michigan's greatest libraries. The Library of Michigan offers not only books, but also art exhibits and special events covering a wide range of topics. While its original purpose was to serve as the local equivalent of the Library of Congress, it soon expanded into a much broader-scale operation. With a history extending back to 1828, the Library of Michigan has plenty of stories of its own to tell, beyond those contained in the books within.
The Ann Arbor District Library in Ann Arbor has one major point to its credit, among a bundle of lesser points. Every year for the last 10 years, it's won a five-star rating from Library Journal. That streak is a significant feat—only 13 libraries in the entire country can boast a streak like that. With five locations to its credit, and a clear focus on patron service—it adds material and programs based on patron suggestions—its relaxed approach to library operations makes it accessible and high-quality, a point the community appreciates.
The little town of Pickford, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, has to get a nod on this list thanks to its sheer achievement as a library. It's not only one of 2017's leaders in the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge—young patrons logged a collective 235,764 minutes of reading over the summer, or around 164 days—but it's also packing an impressive advanced digital front. It's got the Libby digital reading platform as well as the OverDrive reading app, meaning that all manner of books, from paper to digital, will be on hand for those who want to try and match the kids' capabilities.
It's no surprise that Traverse City has a choice library—they seem to have a little of everything up there. In that vein, the Traverse Area District Library likewise has a little of everything. Books, of course, in both print and online versions with OverDrive and Zinio leading the way are on hand here. So too are movies and music and a range of options for the youth and young adult. It doesn't stop there, either. Special events like Books & Brewskis that connect beers to books and the Simply Delicious series with Chef Tom, who brings 25 years of experience to the library to teach others.