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I live in a relatively small city that sits on the eastern edge of the civilized world.

The grocery stores around these here parts are not exactly full of exotic stuff. In fact, finding anything other than white button mushrooms requires a 20-plus mile drive. The vegetable section of the local groceries are ah… fairly unimaginative.

Thus, imagine my surprise when, over the summer, I took the kids to the local library, expecting it to be a small, boring and barely adequate space (similar to the one closest to where we had lived in La Mesa, California – it was a tiny branch).

What I found instead was a huge, modern building, featuring a glass enclosed teen section, with cool seating, internet access and lots more. The library has a terrific kids’ section fashioned to look like a castle, a permanent book store, a cafe (yes, you read that right – a cafe – that serves coffee), lots of reading areas, comfy seating, plenty of helpful staff and handy little computer kiosks at several strategic locations.

Huh, color me shocked!

Life being what it is, I’ve not had a lot of time to go back to the library… but took the time the other morning… and was once again surprised.

C’mon, how many public libraries boast a view like this:

The Superstitions from the AJ Library parking lot

The Superstitions from the AJ Library parking lot

Some smart designer had the wise idea to build a large wall of floor-to-ceiling windows in the main reading area of the library, and then orient the library building to look out on that view. Smart, doncha think?

Yep… I’m gonna be back…

My reading (and listening) material...

My reading (and listening) material...

Oh and by the way: shameless plug… that kinda funky, retro-looking brown leather thing? That’s my purse, and I love it! I had to wait nearly three months for it, since Coronado Leather makes most of their stuff to order, totally worth it!  I’ve got a growing list of “I wants” from them…  This one has been my faithful companion for 8 months now, wonderful thing.