Friday, June 20, 2014

Library 21c Review

My family is in love with Library 21c! It is amazing mostly because it will change your definition of library. We went over for a sneak peak this week and are counting down the minutes to the Grand Opening this Saturday, June 21 at 9:30 am. Its going to be great!
Library 21c in Colorado Springs- makes you rethink how you define a library

What's so amazing you ask? First just the space! The kids section is about the same size of the old library. There are two floors, a cafe, copy center, and so much more. Let me take you on a photo tour:

Depending on where you park will determine which level you enter on. For our photo tour today, we're parking on the lower level to enter on the main floor.

Holds at Library 21c
First thing you will see when you walk in are these fast check out scanners and the Holds Pick Up area. Perfect for an easy in easy out. I love holds at the library. It is not uncommon for me to put a ton of books on hold during the summer so I can help my kids learn all summer long. Since the books are at several different locations, I love the convenience of putting them on hold and picking them up at one place. This is also where you will return your books. Past this area behind the Pick Up area is a Teen Zone which includes computers, books, comfy seats, and two break out rooms if you need to have a study session or something. Its neat. 

Great space at Library 21c
 Next you walk into this amazing space. I love all the windows. Here you can find the Hot Items shelved near the windows and choose your next destination. There is a little Friends of the Library Bookstore and an eHelp Cyber Clinic. Don't know how to use your new tablet- come here and they will teach you. Don't know which tablet to buy? They will have some for you to look at and play around with so you can see which best fits your needs. Seriously, remember this resource. There are couches and seating areas throughout this main space and even a cafe- Her Story Cafe. You can literally spend all day here. You will also find some restrooms right next to the cafe (remember this one parents-its the closet one to the Children's Section).
Children's Section at Library 21c
If you have kids you'll want to head back to the Children's Section (they have giant glass panels with the word KIDS on it so its hard to miss). I love having the kids area closed in. As a parent I teach my kids to be quiet in libraries. Some of my children think they are being quiet but its the shout whisper. Gotta love it. The walls surrounding the children's section definitely puts me at ease. I like how in this library there is a separate room for the crafts or performances in the children's section too. The other cool thing about the Children's Section is the Family Place Library. Its a great place to take your family, read books together, play a little, learn more about the resources in the community, and meet new friends. I'm still friends with someone I met at the library when we just moved here. After all, you know you have at least something in common- you both like the library! This is a space I see myself doing research or blogging while my kids play and read books. Its really nice. In the future you will some family workshops here as well. Its a great community resource.

Library 21c Colorado Springs

 The Kids' Computer Lab is great. I really appreciate the separate desk areas here as opposed to the one long table. The keyboards are great and the computers have great educational kid games. There are so many fun toys throughout this library too. Get ready to stay a while. My kids are begging to go back- like I said, we are counting down the minutes to when we get to go back.
Across from the Children's Section is the Main Library Collection. It has tons of books and nice seating areas. A neat thing you will find throughout this library is the sectioned off parts of the library. They have chain curtains hanging down that kind of section off corners of the library for a bit more privacy. I really like it. There is also a big desk area here where you can plug your lap top in. Another neat feature- you can print wirelessly. You can send your documents to the printers from your own computer wherever you are in the library. Definitely an improvement over the old system.

I'm in love with all the space at this library. There are 3 stairwells that will take you to the next level (and 1 elevator). We are going to go up the stairwell in between the Children's Section and the main Library Collection on our photo tour here. This is where it gets really cool and blows your mind when it comes to library definitions.

On the east side you will find the Audio Video Studio. This is where the library will be shooting their programs for their TV station now- yes, they have a TV station. And guess what? You can reserve this space as well. You can even check out some equipment to go make your own film outdoors. Next to this space is the Venue @21c. The Venue holds up to 400 people and can be easily split into smaller rooms. This a great place for performances, community meetings, business workshops, and more. The really neat part is whats under the floors though. The library received a donation to put inductive loop under the floors. Those with hearing aids will hear directly what is coming out of the sound system eliminating background noise (which sometimes is louder than the speakers). You can find other nice features like this throughout the library as well.

On the west side you will find my new obsession: the Make rooms!. You have to go through training before being able to use any of the machines but it will be worth it! Make is kind of like the clean creative room- no power tools but you will find sewing machines, paper cutting tools, and even a vinyl machine. You don't need to reserve this room but you do have to check in and make sure there are't classes at that time.

Make II is the messy creative space- think power tools here. They have  an awesome 3D printer here, a woodworking machine and more. I'm completely amazed by this space. Guess who will be in one of the first safety training classes? Me. Don't worry, I'll tell you more about these spaces in the future as I become more familiar with them. My husband is determined to use the 3D printer- no idea what for but he really wants to use it. I can't blame him.
In between the two Make rooms you will also find an Editing Bay. Its a great little space with very useful tools.

The west side also has two gaming areas- one for Teens and one for Adults. You can also find computers with programming software which is pretty neat. I love that teens can come and just hang out at the library. Don't worry there are not any M rated games. You can only play the games that are provided too.

Next you come to the atrium. There is a help desk nearby and even a Copy and Print Center here- Ricoh. The space on the south side of the atrium is pretty great too. You can use those cool see through white boards, find a private work area, use the huge adult computer lab, and even reserve some work space if you work at home (hoteling). There are several private rooms to reserve and a great space for office meetings (even has a balcony).The business meeting spaces even have mondo pads which essentially are giant tablets. One of the rooms I noticed had a whole wall that was a white board. There are Business Librarians to help patrons too. They can train you to use the technology and utilize business information.

I can see myself using every single space of this library. There is just so much. Library 21c shifts the way I think about a library. Its also what I've been looking for. I want a place that I use a vinyl machine, do some video editing, work in a quiet space, having a meeting, and go home with a new book to read or movie to watch. I will definitely be spending lots of time here in the future. The neat thing is Pikes Peak District is also upgrading several other libraries starting with East and Penrose so you won't need to come to this one if its too far away. Find out how to continue to support these great improvements and other answers to your questions on their site:

The library just got cooler. 

Where is the first place you will go in Library 21c? What are you most excited about?

Location: 1175 Chapel Hills Dr. 80920
Hours: Mon-Thurs 9am-9pm; Fri-Sat 10am-6pm; Sun 1-5pm
Total Tour Time: 30-60 minutes. You can set up a tour of the new facility by contacting Amy Rodda: arodda (at) ppld (dot) org, 884-9839. To set up a different tour see here.
Rating: 5/5 all the way!


  1. Ok the make rooms sound amazing! Great Review!

    1. You should come down Laura- we could have some fun together!

  2. Oh I would love to have a library like that close to us!!

    1. You have my permission to be jealous. Seriously though, I feel like I won the library jackpot.

  3. Amazing! I love it when libraries break the "sit and be quiet" rules. We'll have to come down and check it out!


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