Library Visit: Beatrice, Nebraska (New Public Library)

Beatrice Public Library
100 North 16th Street
Beatrice, Nebraska

Opened: November 9, 1991

Operating Budget: $552,567
Registered Users: 6,353
Collection Size: 125,743
Annual Circulation: 129,247

It can be a sad experience, visiting a town’s new library after seeing the beauty of its historic, no longer in-use library. I’m happy to report this was not the case in Beatrice, Nebraska. The new library, built in 1991, is full of natural light, open space, cozy reading nooks, and friendly staff. The town’s old library was a Carnegie, which opened in 1904 (see here).

A view of the front entrance from the parking lot. It’s a long, rectangular building.
The front entry cove.


Wonderful mural carved into the brick around the entry.


Close up above the door.


Detail of an old homestead with tree to the left.


Detail of the iconic windmill with tree to the right. Trees have been important to Nebraskans since the first white settlers planted them on the once relatively treeless Great Plains. Arbor Day was the brainchild of J. Sterling Morton of Nebraska City.
Close up of the windmill. Dempster, a Beatrice business started in 1878, is still in business.


The main hall.


The adult reading section.


The teen section.


A perfect place for storytime or a book group.
Neat idea in the kids’ section. I’d love to snuggle down with a good book in this cushy tub. This is the only picture of the kids’ section because some kids were there enjoying books.
This was tucked away in a far corner, but it always makes me feel warm and fuzzy to see an actual card catalog in a library.
My favorite founding father, Ben Franklin. Sculpture by G.W Lundeen.


Pardon the glare, but do you know who this is?


Its Nebraska author Mari Sandoz. Her book, Old Jules, a biography of her pioneer father, holds the distinction of being the only book I’ve literally thrown across the room in disgust. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a well-written, powerful story. Old Jules, Mari’s father, is a real SOB and it was due to him that I threw the book. After calming down I got up and retrieved it and kept reading. I highly recommend it.
Out front.
I visited the Beatrice Public Library before I started the tradition of taking a picture of each library’s Willa Cather holdings, but their online catalog returns 152 items when you search her name. Looks like I missed out on a good collection!

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