Don’t let the name fool you. Even though the official title is Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library, it would be more accurate to call it the Topeka & Shawnee County Community Center. Of course, you can check out books, and movies, and music—but there’s a lot more going on. Just step inside the front doors to find one of the busiest public places in Northeast Kansas. Off the entrance rotunda to the East is the Alice C. Sabatini Gallery with a continually changing scene of artworks from outside sources and the Library’s own collection. Down the hall, teens and their electronic gear gather in their own space, The Edge.
Across the rotunda, in the other direction, there’s the Chandler Booktique selling “gently used” books, movies and music, along with unique gift items. On the other side of the hall are some of the high-demand meeting rooms: On a recent Monday there were ten public meetings scheduled in the Library. At the end of the hall, the Millennium Café offers delicious food, beverages and sweet treats. And speaking of treats, the Kids Library has the only captive T-Rex in Kansas! All of this under one roof—and we haven’t even gotten to the vast media collections, or the two brand new bookmobiles as they circle the city and county.
Many of these activities are made possible, in whole or in part, by private donations administered by The Library Foundation, supplementing public funds to make the library a true community center for all ages and interests. ~ Rich Hayse, Trustee, The Library Foundation