The Central Branch of the STL public library re-opened in December 2012 after being closed for over a year.
I came here last week to see what kind of renovation you get for $70 Million. Well, it's pretty impressive. Anyone with an interest in historic architecture will want to see what they've done to the place. Much of the enjoyment comes from looking up - all the ceilings have been restored to their original glory and they are impressive. The huge stained glass windows that adorn the staircases beside the Grand Hall are also just gorgeous. The modern lighted shelves are also very cool.
The Grand Hall is breathtakingly beautiful - one of the most impressive rooms in St. Louis. My favorite spot, though, was the St. Louis room, which has about 20 very unique historical photos around the room. Be sure and get a printed guide that describes each picture (ask the librarian - they are in a rack in the middle of the room). I could probably go back to this room and hang out for hours looking over some of the hundreds of books that tell the city's story. I love this kind of stuff.
Anyway, the restoration is amazing, outside and in. It's a must see for locals, but also worth a stop for tourists. One of the library docents told me there are several tours daily of the building (on the hour, mid-day as I recall). I'll definitely be back.
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