Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Lobby of the Library

Fort Wayne Public Library

Photo Credits:,4349

Walking into the lobby of the downtown library was like walking into grandma and grandpa's house. There was always a certain smell - one I couldn't put my finger on. Everything was the same - nothing out of place. In the Library's case, walking through those doors, you'd always see the pools in front of you, the check-out area to the left, the staircase further down and to the right, and my most favorite permanent part of the place - the McMillen Globe. It was on the right, past the staircase.

The "pools" were these two, built-in, concrete, mini fountains where we would often through our pennies. It's actually surprising to me that kids didn't jump in them (they were very shallow) and/or that water didn't splash out (ahem kids innocently dropping coins) and make the adjoining floor space wet (causing a slip from a patron).

The magazine area was to the right and it had an area where you could sit and read. Magazines were bound in a contraption - I think - it was a red hard back with a clear front. They sat on these (tries to come up with some term that makes sense) - shelf that was tilted a bit so that the magazine would slide off. You could lift up the shelf to find past issues of a particular magazine (at least a year's worth - I think).

All of the magazines I was ever interested in reading...well...they were always not where I could find them. The exception was if we arrived first thing in the morning, when the library opened. The staff always did a good job of putting everything back where you could find them but you know - those lazy patrons :P.

I loved this library. This is the library I grew up in. This is the library that allowed me to explore my literary interests - all for the cost of nothing. What a powerful entity libraries are. Especially our own ACPL.


Photo Credits:,4873


john brown said...

I worked there my last two years of high school. June '72 thru June '74.

My job was in the reference department. I restocked the shelves and went into the basement and sub-basement to find books for patrons.

It was a great job for someone
like me who loves to read.

The smell was from the leaky roof. A flat roof for a library probably wasn't the best idea.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I remember those 2 pools. I was about 4 years old and my first memory of the library was getting down on my stomach to "inspect" the water. It wasn't a second after my finger touched that a big guy in a sport coat rushed over to yell at me. Quite traumatic. :) -Dan

Kristina said...


My understanding is that every single library building (okay - at least the downtown versions) have had issues with leaky roofs.

I wonder what THAT was all about!

Kristina said...


I wonder how much money was recovered from those pools and how often. Kinda like those fountains/pools at Freimann Square...

ida said...

well most government buildings have flat roofs. the air conditionars are up there and other things. and most flat roofs leak period. most government building use the same building plans and the same flat roofs. like the post office, dod (fort harrison), and some downtown indianapolis governemnt buildings. i had forgotten about the fountains in the floor. but i remember the globe. that was amazing. i would stand there for at least 30 min or so at a time daydreaming. lol i think someone might had told my father about it. they always knew where i was. and the magazines......horray for the liberary. when the ladies in the young peoples area showed me the 17 magazine, and all the other teenage girl magaizines i fell in love with them. my dad probley got tired of taking me to the libery for the magizines becouse he started to let me buy one now and then. and then looking at the last pic where you are at the checkout desk you can also see the little kids area. i remember the day i got "kicked" out of there and moved to the big kids area. i was so embarrassed but thrilled when i found out where it was.

PMX said...

I always loved the lobby of the downtown library and think it's great someone else feels the same. I was only a little kid but thought the lobby was so classy and "big city"! And I immediately felt cozy and at home, which in a way was very true, because the library was my home away from home. I always wondered how much money they got out of the fountains too.

Anonymous said...

That is a good question. The librarian probably got enough change out of those two ponds to buy lunch two or three times a week. I guess I can see why he was so protective of his piggy banks. As far as Freimann Square--now that's a good question. Which brings up another one: is the change at the bottom of that pond at Freimann the City's (i.e. making a wish is a donation to the FW Parks Dept.) or is it on the take, and no one realizes it.

PS: Glad to have you back blogging again!

Jim said...

Thanks for the memories. I also remember a lot of Saturday afternoons spent in that library. The globe always fascinated me. The library truly was one of the jewels in downtown Fort Wayne.

Bob G. said...

Nice to see that you had a really BEAUTIFUL main branch of the ACPL.

ANd was all FREE.
How can anyone beat THAT price?

Nice look into this city's history.