Z. J. Loussac Public Library in Anchorage, Alaska has a stunning setting on a hill in a large park with fabulous vistas and a soaring metal fountain.
A plexiglas covered walkway leads one flight up to the 2nd floor entry so a road can pass beneath the building. Stroll across a huge concrete pavilion with a statue of William Henry Seward (of the famous Folly), picnic tables and even better views of the snowcapped mountains that surround the city…
…to enter the library where a vast atrium provides lots of light – great for those experiencing the seasonal affective disorder so common in far north climes. Abundant greenery, artwork and tables invite wifi users to relax with a coffee or soda. There’s a scooter for the physically challenged and a display case with photos of astronauts and nebulae and a big pair of binoculars to support some upcoming programs.
A pretty cafe off the lobby offers stuffed chairs beneath lovely pictures and a wide selection of goodies.
Conveniently, the busy Children’s Area is right ahead as you pass by the customer service desk. It’s got a raised, carpeted play area with seating for parents. Shorter wood bookshelves let the staff monitor the entire area and art abounds with a Lego man, bears in a canoe as well as these fantastic masks and three paneled painting of whales.
Hanging from the ceiling are several mobiles including a wire whale and the diamond shapes on this one from a local 6th grade class.
There’s a toddler area with colorful rugs, nine children’s internet, an area to hang coats and a big storytime theatre. The Summer Reading Celebration was in full swing with a variety of events including concerts, space programs, puppets, animal and author visits, and a sand castle beach party at Goose Lake Park.
The four story building has a theatre and assembly chambers on the ground floor – both seat over 200 and can be rented by anyone even when the library is closed. The beautiful Ann Stevens Room can be used when the 20,000 item Alaska Collection is closed.
The third floor also has seating beneath the atrium with comfy chairs sporting attached arm tables.
A monitor promotes YA programs as you enter the glass doors of Teen Underground where teens can play video games on a big screen console or read graphic novels while lounging on cushioned furniture with wheels. They also have access to 18 laptops and 18 iPads and can bring in covered drinks.
Loussac has 39 adult computers (including three for guests) and an attractive new book display. There’s a reference desk where George and Jane kindly answered my many questions. They also have a large language section, a quiet zone and great views everywhere.
The fourth floor houses offices and a pleasant waiting area. The media area is up here too and has DVDs, kid’s book tape combos and tons of CDs in flip through shelving. I got a chance to chat with Nelson who sweetly agreed to let me take a picture.
The five location system offers a number of databases, digital and audio eBooks, book club bags, live homework help and the Ready to Read Resource Center with over 200 kits that help caretakers prepare toddlers and infants for reading.
What a magnificent facility for a gorgeous city!