Smooches in the Stacks: Why the Public Library is a First Date Homerun Smooches in the Stacks: Why the Public Library is a First Date Homerun
The GOOD Life

Smooches in the Stacks: Why the Public Library is a First Date Homerun

by Chiara Atik

February 20, 2013

New York has what might well be considered the crown jewel of libraries, The NYPL. It’s the largest public library in America, situated on fashionable 5th Avenue. The Reading Room is something to see, more akin to a European Palace than a library, and the collection features such treasures as a Guttenberg Bible and the original "Winnie-The-Pooh" dolls. (The library is no stranger to romance, either–Paul Varjak brings Holly Golightly to the library on their first “date” in "Breakfast at Tiffany’s," and, (perhaps less whimsically) Carrie Bradshaw (tries) to marry Mr. Big there in the first "Sex and the City movie.")

Los Angeles also has some libraries that are worthy date stops. The Huntington Library (which is not a public library, aka not free) boasts gorgeous botanical gardens and an impressive selection of Folios, "The Canterbury Tales," and a first edition of Audubon's "Birds of America." You can also have tea there.

The Brand Library in Glendale, CA is especially cool, first of all because it specializes in art and music, and secondly because it’s supposedly haunted. The library was originally a mansion whose owner died there in 1925. The library has an incredible collection of records and CDs which are fun to poke through, and the librarians are usually happy to talk about ghost sightings.

The Boston Public Library was the first municipal library in the United States, founded in 1848. Along with the NYPL, The Library of Congress, and the Libraries of Yale and Harvard, it’s one of the most important libraries in the United States. The collection boasts first editions of Daniel Defoe works, and the entire library of John Adams, the papers of William Lloyd Garrison, and the archives of the Handel and Hayden Society. The library holds 8.9 million books in all.

Of course, the United States doesn't have the monopoly on jaw dropping libraries. the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt was inaugurated in 2002 in honor of the most famous library of the ancient world. It's not quite what was around during Ptolemy's day, but it does boast books in English, French, and Arabic and—if you're looking for opportunities for starry romance—a planetarium. The Bodleian Library at Oxford is difficult to get into (unless you're on a date with a student or professor?), but worth it for fantasy fans interested in seeing the building that inspired Tolkien and doubled as Hogwarts for two of the Harry Potter films. And art fans can't miss the library at Trinity College in Dublin, where the Book of Kells is on permanent collection.

These last few are, however, less suitable for canoodling in the stacks. If you're just looking for a low-key setting in which to impress each other with your love of literature, best stick closer to home, and let your own local library help you prove that true romance isn't just found in books.

Chiara Atik is author of Modern Dating: A Field Guide

This post is part of the GOOD community's 50 Building Blocks of Citizenship. This week: Get a Library CardFollow along, join the discussion, and share your experience at #goodcitizen.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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Smooches in the Stacks: Why the Public Library is a First Date Homerun