This summer the downtown public library closed to make room for something bigger, newer, modernized and sleek. The Advanced Learning Library officially opened in June of 2018. I couldn’t even tell you the last time I walked into the downtown library but wanted to make sure I stopped by our new facility to see the finished product.
711 W 2nd St
Wichita, KS 67203
Monday – Thursday: 10am – 8pm
Friday and Saturday: 10am – 6pm
Sunday: 1pm – 5pm
The first thing you see when you walk in is the book return. At times there were people standing against the glass watching employees retrieve books here to return them. I’ll admit, it was a little mesmerizing to watching books slide up the conveyor system.
If you take an immediate right, there’s a Reverie: Cafe at the Library all set up to serve the customers.
Around that same area is a big conference room which I believe had just completed hosting 1 Million Cups.
Once you walk out of that area, you’ll be in the lobby where all the magic happens. There’s a huge monitor that displays little ads along with a floor map of the 1st and 2nd floor.
There is a ton of computers for those who need access to one. So many of them were in use on my visit. There’s also free Wi-Fi available with a library card.
One of the nice things about the library some people may not be aware of are the small little conference rooms which you can rent for free. There are larger conference rooms you can rent as well for $50 an hour on up. Here’s one of their smaller rooms.
There’s also an A/V room which is free to use as well. They all all sorts of equipment in here to do things like shoot video and record podcasts. (Side note: Don’t expect a Wichita By E.B. podcast anytime soon)
If you don’t need a conference rooms, there’s plenty of seating available to work at or read a book.
They also had a technology training center with a bunch of computers where classes are held for free. They had such classes like how to use Excel.
If you’re old enough to remember the old card catalogs, that was a huge deterrent for me in going to the library. My librarian at Magdalen probably had to teach me it every year multiple times and I just couldn’t get the grasp of it. I think she was ecstatic when I finally moved on to high school. The electronic system makes it a little easier now. (Hint: I still didn’t use it).
For parents, there’s a whole kids area. They had a play area, a little room where shows were put on for kids, and a ton of books that matched my reading level.
And if you’re willing to brave the weather, there’s an outdoor reading terrace that had a great view.
If you’re like me and lost your library card, you can get a new one for $2. I was shocked to find out I didn’t have any overdue book fees; I’m sure there are some overdue Blockbuster Video fees though if that ever returns. If you don’t want another card to carry around, there’s an e-card version to make it more convenient. I opted not to get that as there’s something special about a physical library card I’ve always loved. I say that now and will probably spend $2 again on my next visit to the library.
I was really impressed with the work the city did on the new library. It finally caught up with the times and put out a product that we all can be proud of. Kudos to Wichita, you make me proud!
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