Austin’s Central Library is the newest addition to the city’s downtown skyline. Six stories overlook Lady Bird Lake on one side and gaze over construction sites and skyscrapers on the other. On opening day, lines snaked throughout the library as excited Austinites tried to get to the staircase to further explore the city’s newest public space.
It was difficult to walk up the stairs without stopping to admire the gorgeous interior and bright colors. It’s a sharp contrast to the old Faulk Central Library, but was obviously designed as a community space — and it appears Austinites are going to take advantage of that. UT students should, too.
With a learning commons, study rooms, plenty of white boards, a rooftop garden and a soon-to-be cafe, the updated and brightly lit library can provide UT students with an alternative to their favorite downtown coffee shops or even the PCL.
It’s common to hear groans about the PCL’s dreary yellow lights, lack of sunlight and closed-in feel. UT has updated parts of the campus’ main library in recent years, but considering it’s a six-story building that’s been open for 40 years, there’s naturally only so much that can be done at any given time. It’s an extensive process to modernize such spaces, and UT has done well with providing students an expansive library collection and updated technology. But for those students who maybe prefer a better-lit, up-to-date space, the Central Library provides a great option.
Furthermore, the new library mirrors the PCL in many ways, with Mac computers and collaborative learning spaces throughout. Few cities have a library this technologically advanced and design-oriented, and few university students are fortunate enough to have access to two excellent libraries like we do. The public library is a good option for students who want to get off campus and also avoid the usually busy coffee shops. The new library gives students many of the same amenities as the PCL, but with a downtown view.
Before you begin that treacherous contemplative journey of trying to decide which coffee shop to study at — and which one you’re most likely to find a seat in, where you’re going to park, which one is cheapest or has both coffee and food — consider checking out the new library. While it’s not a simple walk across Guadalupe, it’s still highly accessible for students. It’s only two miles from campus, and there’s an underground parking garage as well as plenty of bus routes that ensure convenience. We live in a city that offers plenty of exemplary amenities and public spaces — it’s good to get off campus every once in a while and take advantage of them.
Vernon is an anthropology and rhetoric and writing junior from The Woodlands.