When I was growing up, this was the entry way to the Detroit Main Library. It opened onto Woodward Ave. We probably started going soon after we moved back to Detroit when I was 4. There was a man who stood there, a very friendly older man who looked at your books when you were going out to make sure you had checked them out. Younger than I am now, he was very friendly and always smiled at my sister and me. He wore a blue suit and had a round head, with little hair.
To the right was the check-out counter. The door you can see to the right led into the children’s room. The picture books and early reading books were right inside the door to the left. Straight ahead, against the back wall were the books for older readers – “Invisible Island”, the Narnia books and others. My mother brought us here often, interspersed with trips to libraries closer to our home.At the time I don’t remember noticing the high ceilings and the murals specifically, but they were the background for my library experience. In 1963, an addition was added on the Cass side of the library. With building and lawn, it occupies the entire block. For reasons I don’t understand, most of the books were moved into the new area, leaving the old one behind. The book checker moved to the new side of the building and continued to sit there all day and look at books. He was there when I studied on the new side all through college and he was still there in 1972 when I started taking my oldest daughter to the library.
To read more about the Main library
- I Met My Husband in the Library “I usually studied in the sociology room of the Main Library, which was in the middle of Wayne’s campus. As I was leaving to go to my next class that day, a guy came up and asked if I was Rev. Cleage’s daughter. I said I was.”
- Detroit Public Library “Designed by Cass Gilbert, the Detroit Public Library was constructed with Vermont marble and serpentine Italian marble trim in an Italian Renaissance style. His son, Cass Gilbert, Jr. was a partner with Francis J. Keally in the design of the library’s additional wings added in 1963. Among his other buildings, Cass Gilbert designed the United States Supreme Court Building in Washington, DC, the Minnesota State Capitol and the Woolworth Building in New York City.”
- Historic Detroit Library “In March 1910, after some surprising opposition, the Common Council voted to accept an offer from steel magnate Andrew Carnegie to provide money to go toward improving the Detroit library system. Following two years of court cases and legal mumbo jumbo, the city finally got the go-ahead to start issuing bonds and moved ahead with building a replacement for the structure downtown, a building that was still only 35 years old.”