Wednesday, August 18, 2010

#1: St. Joseph's County Public Library, Main Branch

New Arcade Fire album?  Check.  Sixth season of Entourage?  Check.  Free passes to the Center for History?  Call of Duty IV? Yeah baby, this ain't yo momma's library.

The Main Branch library of St. Joseph's County, nestled two blocks away from the downtown TRANSPO hub, offers a treasure trove of not just books and magazines, but the latest DVDs and CDs.  Walk up to the "Sights and Sounds" on the third floor and behold this publicly funded Blockbuster/Tower Records lovechild.   

The entrance to "Sights and Sounds" on the 3rd floor

Here, you'll encounter the typical library patrons: the mom and child (picking out the latest Harry Potter film), the bored teenager (surfing the web and listening to Lil' Wayne way too loud), and myself (the sustainably-minded citizen who thinks, "Why buy when you can rent?!").  All genres of music and film can be found, and you'll be surprised at what you can find.  The selection grows if you search the entire St. Joseph's County library collection, although the Main Branch location is spiffiest and largest of them.

The building is the meeting spot for many niche groups throughout the year--computer classes, language practice, knitting groups, anime clubs, you name it--making a great place to place for people watching and appreciating the weirdness of America.  Spend a hour or two -- except on Sundays when it's closed -- perusing its offerings.  CD rentals are free; DVD rentals (of non-documentaries or children's films) are 50 cents/day; video games are $1.00/day.

Getting a library card is easy -- bring in some paper that proves you live in St. Joe County, whether it's a copy of your lease, a bill mailed to your address, or even a student ID.  Learn more here.

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