university city public library

I travel a lot. I keep telling myself that I really should visit libraries more when I travel so I can blog about and show pictures of them. I almost always forget.

Last week I was in St. Louis, Missouri, prior to attending the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color. I was traveling with a fellow-librarian and staying with another librarian. We managed to visit one library: the University City Public Library (UCPL), the one closest to where we were staying. UCPL is part of of the Municipal Library Consortium (MLC) of St. Louis County, which consists of nine municipal libraries. I believe MLC is separate from both the St. Louis Public Library system (for the city of St. Louis) and the St. Louis County Library system.

UCPL is a pretty nice library. This is what it looks like on the outside. I had to include the no firearm picture; this is a pretty common sign in St. Louis.

The first things to grab my attention when I walked in the door were these fabric artworks hanging on the wall to the left of the entrance. The quilt has people’s names on them, so I assume that they are the names of donors.
To the right of the entrance was a exhibit case. Directly behind it, in full view of the entrance were the DVD shelves. I thought that was an interesting location choice for them.
Here are a few shots of the inside. The last shot (3rd row, right) seems to be the jazz/music reference area, which is on the second floor.
Also on the second floor are the juvenile and teen areas. Here are some pictures:
One of the things that I liked about this library was the way they promoted some of their collections and services. Instead of putting them on a bulletin board or in case by the front (which they probably also did), they posted them at then ends of the shelves. I don’t think my public libraries do this (or I certainly haven’t noticed), but I think it’s a great idea. There was only one on each shelve end, so it wasn’t competing with lots of other things for your attention. It definitely made me want to read them.
They also had their patron behavior rules posted. I think many libraries do this, though I’m not sure that I’ve really paid attention to them before.

In addition to the regular spaces for library materials, this library also had an exhibit space. When we visited, there was an exhibit called “Homage to Dad” by Frank Enger. It is not so much an homage to fatherhood, but about aging fathers. In one corner, was a book display (with one chair next to it) on caregiving, Alzheimer’s, etc.

The exhibit was primarily along the walls outside of the reserve-able study/meeting rooms.

On the way out, I saw the sculpture with which this library is associated. (When we had been talking about libraries a day or two before, my hostess’ friend asked if UCPL is the one with the lions.) Our hostess later told us that this lion used to be outside. I think this was probably a part of those fundraisers where cities pick an animal that applies to them and various artists decorate them. This one is obviously covered by pages from books as well as musical sheets. There is a page from the Wizard of Oz on there. I think it’s cool.


So, this is the only library we managed to see while in St. Louis. We saw the outside of the downtown public library and saw the outside of another one in the Del Mar Loop area, but that’s about it. We thought we’d visit our hostess’ library at Washington University, but we just never made it there. At least we made it to one, right?


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