The Blog of Toledo Lucas County Public Library

Library as Clinic of the Soul

Posted over 2 years ago by Jennifer D

They wanted to make my library into an amusement park. They wanted staff members to ride around on carnival book bikes, and they threw balloons up in the air to show that libraries know how to have fun. I heard rumors that they might add a roller coaster or a super slide in the Grand Court at Main Library.

I simply wanted a quiet place to read, away from the noise, but mainly away from the hustle. Raise your hand if sometimes you feel like your entire life has become a hustle?! A hustle for someone to notice you are there, to hear you, to make a difference, to strive for the “next big thing.” It’s always about the next big thing. What about the now? What about the little girl or boy who needs your help learning how to read? Pry yourself away from your phone/screen, and head to your nearest library, because even though the library reflects its communities wants and desires with balloons and book bikes, it also offers a quiet place to read and reflect. Though the library has changed its packaging, (and thank goodness it’s not like an LOL doll), at a library’s heart, its deep center, it’s still about one thing: #Read

This short piece was inspired by an NY Times Opinion piece entitled “Reinventing the Library” by Alberto Manguel published on Oct 23, 2015 in which Greek historian Diodorus Siculus observed that one of the ancient libraries in Egypt carried these words above its entrance - “Clinic of the Soul.”

Though TLCPL libraries all have “loud” spaces (thank goodness for those too), please enjoy the sprinkling of quiet soul-inspiring spaces as well.

Staff Favorites ...

Tranquil Spots at the Library

Exterior view of the Maumee Branch Library in Maumee, Ohio

Outdoor Patio at Maumee Library

Maumee Library has an outdoor patio that is serene most days (except just after Storytime), and includes a water feature. We haven’t included photos of this one, as you must go and experience it yourself! Tranquil!

Fireplace at the Waterville Branch Library in Waterville, Ohio
Comfortable chairs at the Waterville Branch Library
Chairs great for reading at the Waterville Branch Library

Fireplace Reading Area at Waterville Library

The best quiet spot at the Waterville Library is the Fireplace Reading Area. Magazines and newspapers are housed there and there are plush chairs for relaxing. The best time for quiet is early morning, before story-time and evenings, especially Wednesdays after 7 p.m. The fireplace is inlaid with Carruth stone artwork with depictions of local wildlife.

More Soul-Inspiring Spaces at the Library

River View at the Locke Branch Library in East Toledo (Toledo, Ohio)
River View at the Locke Branch Library
Fountain at the Reynolds Corners Branch Library (Toledo, Ohio)
Fountain at the Reynolds Corners Branch Library
Fireplace at the Toledo Heights Branch Library in Toledo, Ohio
Fireplace at the Toledo Heights Branch Library
Glass mobile at the Lagrange Branch Library in Toledo, Ohio
Under the glass mobile at the Lagrange Branch Library
Fireplace at the Kent Branch Library in Toledo, Ohio
Fireplace at the Kent Branch Library
Rooftop at the Main Library in downtown Toledo, Ohio
Rooftop at the Main Library

Book Recommendations

For Adults

How to disappear : notes on invisibility in a time of transparency / Akiko Busch

How to Disappear: Notes on Invisibility in a Time of Transparency by Akiko Busch

Explores the idea of invisibility in nature, art, and science as part of the search for a more joyful and peaceful way of life in an increasingly surveilled and publicity-obsessed world.

The nature fix : why nature makes us happier, healthier, and more creative / Florence Williams

The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier and More Creative by Florence Williams

From forest trails in Korea, to islands in Finland, to eucalyptus groves in California, Florence Williams investigates the science behind nature’s positive effects on the brain. Delving into brand-new research, she uncovers the powers of the natural world to improve health, promote reflection and innovation, and strengthen our relationships. As our modern lives shift dramatically indoors, these ideas—and the answers they yield—are more urgent than ever.

Quiet : the power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking / Susan Cain

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Demonstrates how introverted people are misunderstood and undervalued in modern culture, charting the rise of extrovert ideology while sharing anecdotal examples of how to use introvert talents to adapt to various situations.

Once upon a river : a novel / Bonnie Jo Campbell

Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell

Margo Crane, a beautiful and uncanny markswoman, takes to the Stark River after being complicit in the death of her father and embarks on an odyssey in search of her vanished mother.

The night bookmobile / Audrey Niffenegger (graphic novel)

The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger

One night a woman encounters a disappearing library on wheels that contains every book she has ever read, but seeing her most intimate self in this library, her search to once again find the bookmobile turns into an obsession.

For Children

The Midnight Library by Kazuno Kohara

The Midnight Library by Kazuno Kohara

The story of a late-night library follows the efforts of a librarian and her three assistant owls to help everyone find the perfect book in the middle of the night only to have their peace and quiet disrupted by mischievous animals.

What Do You Do with a Problem? by Kobi Yamada

What Do You Do with a Problem? by Kobi Yamada

This is the story of a persistent problem and the child who isn't so sure what to make of it. The longer the problem is avoided, the bigger it seems to get. But when the child finally musters up the courage to face it, the problem turns out to be something quite different than it appeared. This is a story for anyone, at any age, who has ever had a problem that they wished would go away. It's a story to inspire you to look closely at that problem and to find out why it's here. Because you might discover something amazing about your problem and yourself.