My friend Rosita took me to the newly opened Central Library branch of the Madison Public Library. It has been thoughtfully planned to meet the needs of a modern, urban community. Within the 119,200 square foot LEED certified building are dedicated spaces for children, teens, and adults. There are public meeting and study rooms, auditoriums, a cafe, art galleries, and a media lab. While we were there, a string quartet was rehearsing in one of the open spaces.
There was art everywhere:
One of the most remarkable things about this library is how the community has taken into consideration the needs of the homeless. In recognition of the fact that libraries are often refuges for the homeless, space has been allotted to social service agencies that work with this population to help them find housing, treatment, and work. The library provides other programming for the homeless such as book clubs and movies as well.
My favorite spot in the library was “The Bubbler,” an art studio within the library that offers “hands-on pop-up workshops” led by local experts on everything from animation to screen printing. I was drawn to the far corner of the studio, where there was a “Wishing Tree”:
The wishes were handwritten on the backs of recycled card catalog cards: