It left a lasting impression when I walked up the stone steps and into the cavernous dark beauty of the century old St. Louis Public Library years ago. The lighting was very poor but you knew you were surrounded by something special. Most impactful was the smell, the old, old book smell. It was enveloping, and comforting. The author I was there to see, Linda Barry, was enthralled by it as well and spoke endearingly of it that night.
This past weekend I went to hear renowned author Kate DiCamillo speak in that recently refurbished grande dame of libraries. The smell was gone but the interior shone bright with greatness. The mosaics, stained glass, and stunning ceilings have been reborn. They do not make them like this anymore. Just a week earlier I went to see children's book author Mac Barnett and illustrator Jon Klassen at a new library in a suburban outpost. This youthful duo's hip talent and playfulness played well in the slick modern setting. Libraries are a gift that just keep giving.
The autumn leaves have peaked. A front moves in tonight, and with the ensuing storms, the temperature and remaining leaves will fall. Times change, buildings change and we must look for the beauty in every season.