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5 Reasons to Visit the Austin Central Library

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The new library blends the past with the present and future.

By Madison Matous, Photos courtesy of the Austin Central Library

The newly constructed Austin Central Library is more than just a building brimming with books. The towering homage to literature is an updated take on the classic library, offering everything from typical works of fiction to modern art, a rooftop garden and a 3-D printer. The library is full of light, with windows that stretch from the floor to the ceiling offering beautiful views of downtown Austin and Lady Bird Lake. While these are reasons enough to visit, we’ve put together our top reasons to visit the library today.

  1. The architecture and art. The library itself is beautiful and has cascading staircases that are reminiscent of those found in the Harry Potter films. One of the most prominent features is “Caw,” the 37-foot-tall art installation by Christian Moeller, a tribute to the many black grackle birds that call Austin home. There is also a small side exhibit explaining the piece. Don’t forget to check out the gallery, which features rotating exhibits from local and national artists.
  2. The multitude of different places to read, work and study. The new library offers plenty of spaces to spread out. The butterfly garden and two main porches make for great spots when you want a breath of fresh air or change of scenery. For those looking for a place to study, try the reading room on the fourth floor, which is closed off from the rest of the library, making it a quiet spot on even the busiest days. Throughout the library, there are also conference rooms and shared learning rooms that are free to rent for meetings or studying.
  3. The technology petting zoo. The “zoo” resides on the fifth floor and allows visitors to try the latest technology, including virtual-reality headsets, tablets, laptops and even a 3-D printer, which is fascinating to see in action.
  4. The children and teen center. The third floor is dedicated to Austin’s youth. The children’s side offers a variety of activities, including puppet shows, story time, crafts and scavenger hunts, while the teen’s side has plenty of places to study.
  5. Recycled Reads bookstore and Cookbook. The Austin Central Library is dedicated producing zero waste, so when books are discarded, they are then sold at the Recycled Reads bookstore. Cookbook, a cafe that is currently under construction, will open in spring 2018.
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