The Library in Miami Beach has Free Internet, DVDs, and Books, of course
Are you like me, one of these people with bookcases packed with Barnes & Noble books you’ve never actually read, which you nonetheless felt compelled to buy because of their intriguing titles or cute puppies on the cover? Or do you visit exotic locales like our own South Beach, and find yourself sliding dollar after dollar into automated Internet machines, watching your alotted time rapidly slip away? And what about DVD rentals? Do you spend your downtime sifting through the shelves of your local rental store in search of something new, interesting and unusual, realizing that the money you’ll spend on this expedition will cost you nearly as much as the price of a double feature at the mall cinema? Or are you just bored, and want a safe place to loiter and reconoiter while your skin recovers from the hot Miami sun? Well, fret no more—the Miami Beach Regional Library (227 22nd St., Miami Beach, FL 33139, (305) 535-4219) is the cure for all these ills, and what’s best…it’s free!
HOW TO GET A LIBRARY CARD
Cards are free of charge to any resident or property owner in Miami Beach and Miami-Dade County.
Being a new resident to South Beach, I hesitated to go at first, thinking that my out-of-state license would prevent me from joining. However, when I became overcome by literary curiosity a few days back and finally decided to poke my nose in the door, I was pleased to discover that you can still become a member with out-of-state ID. All you need is a utility bill or some other piece of identifying mail with your name and a local address! Finally, my electric bill was able to serve a utilitarian function aside from giving me stress.
THE NEW AND IMPROVED MIAMI BEACH LIBRARY
It had been a few years since I’d last visited the library, and I was surprised to see that it had moved across the street from its former location. Its previous home, in a stony deco edifice aback a field of prehistoric baobab trees, is now the Bass Museum of Art. The new library, which opened in April 2005, sits across 22nd Street just west of Collins Ave., a vision of geometric blocks of glass and stucco; it’s the newest edition in the “Collins Park Master Campus Plan,” a cultural oasis in Northern South Beach, which includes the Bass Museum, the Miami City Ballet, and the library. Designed by architect Robert A.M. Stern, it stands out from the rest with its innovative appearance. If 30’s Miami was Deco, and 50’s Miami was Mi-Mo, Millennium Miami must be a combination of Jetsons and Dr. Seuss...and this building reflects that sentiment.
Despite the fact that it opened nearly three years ago, the 42,088 square foot building still feels spanking new. The computers are plentiful: flatscreen and state-of-the-art, they’re available to anyone who signs up at the desk. Behind the central collection, an enclosed garden courtyard with a pool and tropical landscaping highlights the experience, the perfect place to sequester yourself while you read War & Peace.
Off to the side of a courtyard is the library cafe, which serves coffee and light food—no doubt inspired by Starbucks’ partnership with Barnes & Noble.
Among the books, I noticed an extensively large collection of foreign titles, in languages ranging from Spanish to German, Russian and Italian. Language courses were available in conversational Persian. A few shelves down was a DVD section, with a selection including both mainstream releases and subjects of an educational nature. Up the stairs of the lobby was a sizable children’s section. In addition to these thrills, lectures, films, discussion groups, concerts, dance programs and children’s events are also regularly scheduled.
LIBRARY HOURS & LOCATION
Don’t wait until a rainy day to check out the Miami Beach Regional Library, a place where loitering can become an art form. The hours are as follows: Monday - Thursday: 9:30 - 9:00 p.m.; Friday, Saturday 9:30 - 6:00 p.m.; Sundays (August 26, 2007 - May 11, 2008), 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
The Library is located at 227 22nd Street in Miami Beach, FL 33139. The phone number is (305) 535-4219.
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"The Library in Miami Beach has Free Internet, DVDs, and Books, of course"