The first public library in my life was the Cicero Public Library, my hometown library. A second public library played an important part in my childhood, and that is the Riverside Public Library. It was the public building closest to the hill where we went sledding (meaning it had a restroom).
But since then it has been one of my favorite libraries in the Chicagoland area. Until recently I lived in the next town over (Brookfield) and often did my reading and writing in this library for the inspiration its beauty provides. The pictures below were taken on two recent visits.
Riverside Public Library
1 Burling Road
Riverside, IL 60546 website
If you live in the Chicago area and have not visited this library, it is well worth the drive. If you visit in winter bring your sled and if you visit in warmer months pack a picnic. There are also some good restaurants within walking distance.
The Village of Riverside was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in the 1870s and much of the area has a park-like atmosphere. Pictured above are stairs leading down into the park where we used to sled. In the distance, behind the trees, are the library and other municipal buildings. The village has been a National Historic Landmark since 1970. Read more here.
A view of the library from water’s edge. The library is the lighter building on the left.
The same view with leaves on the trees.
A path along the river’s edge heading towards the library. It looks rather Hobbit-ish, doesn’t it?
The library as seen from the end of the path pictured above. The long expanse of windows is the quiet reading room.
West side of the library.
Southside of the library. Just inside this timbered (Tudor?) bay window is a window seat and cozy reading area.
East side of the library. See the gargoyle at the peak?
Another view of the east side of the library.
Guards at the window.
My favorite creature.
The front of the library faces north.
Looking from the library towards town. The train station is across the street.
The front facade detail. Above reads: “There is no past so long as books shall live, Bulwer Lytton.”
Oak front doors.
Padded reading bench on the south wall in a bay window.