A gem, the main branch of The Detroit Public Library is a nod to the past, when Andrew Carnegie donated close to 60 millions dollars to build libraries across the United States. In 1910 Carnegie’s funding facilitated an oldie but goodie on Woodward or Cass depending on which entrance you use. Detroit benefited from Carnegie’s legacy gift. By giving our city the funds for the Vermont marble renaissance building designed by Cass Gilbert, Carnegie left a legacy of public and free access to knowledge and beauty in a grande building.
The library is a feast for the eyes. Fresco paintings, treasured gifts from all over the world and craftsmanship fill the library. Public tours are offered often and dates can be found online. Here is the description from the DPL website: The tour highlights the architecture of Cass Gilbert, as well as the many works of famed craftsmen and architects. Our docents will share with you the history, art and architecture of Detroit’s acclaimed Main Library. You will discover the Grand Staircase, the Pewabic fireplace, the Ernie Harwell Room, and other surprises along your 1 mile walking journey. The library offers concerts, author events and all sorts for adults and children.
Last month my book club, The Happy Bookers visited the library. 13 ladies were in awe and wonder as our tour guide, Chuck shared stories and highlights from his vast experience working at the library. The Bookers meet about once a month and every so often we plan an experience. This one left us enriched and made for great book talk. For our next reads we have chosen two non fiction titles.
Book club in the city with interesting women in a beautiful setting reminded me of the power of public spaces. The conversations after the tour were enhanced by the surrounding of the city of Detroit and the library. During the visit I lost track of time, and was taken by the Carnegie quote in the Cass entrance foyer, ” A library outranks any other thing a community can do to benefit its people.” I could not agree more.