Library Blog

What a view they have, n’est-ce pas? The entrance to the Library is by the yellow van.
What a view they have, n’est-ce pas? The entrance to the Library is by the yellow van.

Paris, Ooh La Library!

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

On a recent trip to the City of Lights, I made a special visit to another membership library. Last spring, I read The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles. I was delighted to learn in the afterword that the library this historical novel references is a real library, and it still exists today. The American Library in Paris was established just over 100 years ago by the American Library Association for American soldiers stationed in France.

Like the NYSL, they have moved around their home city a few times over the past century. They’ve been in their current building with that amazing view since 1964. This notice is from their first location.

To quietly celebrate their centennial, vintage photographs are on display in the lobby. Being a children’s librarian, I was particularly intrigued by this series showcasing kids browsing the books and at library events. Their robust children’s programming has been in place for over 90 years.

For a lark, the current staff recently recreated vintage photographs of the early staff. If you’ve read The Paris Library, many of the characters the author mentions are real people pictured here.

Libraries are the same the world over. Here’s a peek at their stacks.

I spent the bulk of my tour in the recently renovated children’s and teen area.

This is the welcome area to their children’s department.

Here is the original children’s library…

… which was expanded into a bonus room following the renovation last year.

Above the children’s library, there is a teen mezzanine, with a jaw-dropping amount of shelving for YA books!

This is the bonus area for teens established from the renovation.

It seems that no matter where you travel in the world, you’ll be able to find your way back a familiar place you might want to call home.

Want to learn more about the history of this unique institution? In addition to browsing their website, you might also enjoy this article.

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