Thunder City Metropolitan Library
After over 200 years of service, Thunder City’s very own library is more museum – and relic – than it is a place of thriving intellect in today’s digital society.
The Thunder City Metropolitan Library was founded in the 1940’s in a joint effort between the city’s many intellectual societies, colleges, and local government. Many Thunder City citizens supported the idea of a local, centralized resource, as well as the traffic and business the addition would bring to uptown TC. Construction of its white marble, Classical style building (the same one it remains in to this day) was funded in part by taxes and donations from Thunder City’s generous upper-class citizens, as well as numerous city-wide fundraising events. The library started operating in the early 1950’s, and has been ever since.
In its heyday, the library and the area it occupies in norther Thunder City were popular locations to hang out. A fair number of businesses catering to school-age youths and young adults, and intellectually-inclined adults, popped up around it, increasing its popularity. With the gradual decline in physical books starting in the early 21st century, however, the public lost interest in a building full of books they could read online or in the comfort of their homes (or on the go in the case of e-readers). A few of the businesses still remain, but many shut down decades ago only to be replaced by more popular electronics, clothing, and specialty stores.
In attempts to combat declining patronage and the costs of badly needed repairs, the library has shifted its focus to become more technologically friendly. The past 20 years has seen the addition of an in-library coffee shop and book store, the expansion of computer labs, common areas, and private meeting rooms equipped with a variety of not-quite-state-of-the-art technology. Their selection and quantity of books has consequently suffered, and instead focuses on rare and out of print books, classic literature, standard research resources, and a section of newer books that is refreshed monthly.
The library also houses a thorough collection of old news and magazine publications in its archives, as well as city records.
Most books (with some exceptions) and various media can be rented from the library for up to a month at a time. Public access to the library is free, but rentals require a card; the card costs $20 for a first-time fee, and $5 to renew every three years. Meeting rooms may be reserved by card holders for no additional fee, but must be registered two weeks in advance. Access to the archives and city records is granted sparingly, as visitors must be overseen by a library employee or volunteer.
Periodically, the library will host a variety of literary, historical, and educational events in attempts to both draw the public’s attention and provide something productive and healthy to the youth of Thunder City. However, despite its greatest attempts to reclaim its old glory, the library is barely scraping by.
Built in the standard neoclassical style popular among governmental agencies in the 1940’s, the library is a gleaming white marble masterpiece that occupies two large city blocks. The building’s shape is straightforward (or boring, depending on who you talk to), a simple rectangle with extended sections in the middle, on both sides. These sections are fronted by 6 huge, marble pillars. The front entrance faces Old Main Street; the back, Elderberry Blvd. The Elderberry side used to also be an entrance, but due to safety and security concerns as well as lack of space, that entrance was closed down in the early 21st century.
Being a marble building, there are not many windows cut out of the walls of the library. The roof, however, is at least 40% domed glass, allowing for a view of a beautiful span of sky and ample light during the day. There are a few floor to ceiling glass panes flanking the Main Street entrance and along the back Elderberry wall, as well as a sprinkling of windows here and there elsewhere.
Inside, thanks to semi-recent grants, the library is a touch more modern and refreshed, incorporating metal and wood into curved, artistic architectural elements, like the front of the coffee shop and book store. Typically, this modernization only extends to the newest additions; the rest of the library remains untouched – though repaired.
Two great marble stair cases lead to the basement and second level. The bookstore and coffee shop are on the first floor, as well as the largest computer lab. The second floor hosts primarily books and meeting rooms, interspersed by reading areas, study nooks and smaller computer labs. The basement is much smaller than the ground floor and encompasses the archives, administrative offices, and activity rooms.
There is no dedicated parking except for a tiny 8-car parking lot behind the building, reserved for staff. Patrons can either park on the street (metered on weekdays from 8am to 5pm, except on holidays) or use one of two parking garages that are within walking distance.
2240 Old Main Street
Monday & Tuesday | 10am-6pm
Wednesday & Thursday | 9am-7pm
Friday | 9am-8pm
Saturday & Sunday | 10am-7pm