About This Blog

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I'm not on board with the whole ebook thing. I enjoy books in all their formats. But there is nothing quite like a bookstore with its neatly arranged shelves of books and artfully created displays of new arrivals, best sellers, and suggested reading. I especially enjoy discovering small, independent bookstores and have made it my mission to visit and report back on as many of these gems as I can. That is my focus, but there is really nothing that is off limits as long as it is about books or reading. Hope you enjoy my blog and come back often.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

A Break In the Weather

Elk Rapids
District Library
300 Isle of Pines
Elk Rapids, MI 49629

Cloudy, cool, and wet!!! That pretty much sums up May in Michigan this year, and until just this week, it looked like June was going to continue the trend. The lake level at the cottage has risen so much in the past few weeks that part of our dock is now under water, and as far as the temperature goes, May seemed to think it was April, and June was following the trend. At a time when I should have been breaking out the shorts and sandals, I was still turning on the heat in the cottage and wearing my flannel jammies to bed. Don't get me wrong. I love being at the cottage no matter what the weather, but with a steady string of bleak days, my mood was in danger of turning bleak as well. I needed a pick-me-up, and I had the ideal thing in mind. About six months ago, I learned about a great library in northern Michigan and had promised myself that I'd visit it once the cottage season began. Early June turned out to be the perfect time for a trip to the Elk Rapids District Library.

I headed out on the two-hour trip in a light rain with high hopes that the weather would clear by the time I arrived in Elk Rapids, and luckily my hopes were realized. As I entered the small, picturesque town, the rain had ceased, and patches of blue began to appear, all the better to enjoy the scenic views of the beautiful Grand Traverse Bay along which Elk Rapids rests.

The library occupies what was originally a private residence. Built in the 1860s, The Island House, designated a Michigan Historic Site, was indeed situated on an island of approximately five acres. The only access to the property was via footbridge or boat. Since then, land access has been constructed, but a charming footbridge still provides a connection to the village.

Library Director, Nannette Miller
The Island House became a library in 1949 and currently serves more than 5,000 full-time residents. Summertime is a different story, however, as inhabitants of this popular vacation destination swell to around 10,000. The day of my visit was a bit ahead of the rush, so the library was busy, but not crowded.

Beautiful library porch
The first thing I noticed as I stepped through the main door toward the circulation desk was a lovely fireplace. I learned from a friendly and accommodating Library Director, Nannette Miller, that there are actually three fireplaces in all. I enjoyed a pleasant conversation with Nannette in my favorite area of the library, a long enclosed porch, complete with rocking chairs. Everything about this place is homey and charming.

Nannette has been the Director for the past 10 years or so, but has worked in libraries since the 80s. I am grateful that she was able to take time out of her busy schedule to talk with me. 

The Book Cellar
A couple of big things she has going on right now are a 70-year anniversary celebration of the library, happening this summer, and a large expansion project. This popular community treasure is bursting at the seams, so a $5 million campaign is underway to provide more reading and work spaces, better access to technology, a larger children's area, a place for teens, and much more. It always does my heart good to find a library that is so well used.

After my chat with Nannette, I took a leisurely tour of the building. A cheery children's area, cozy bay windows, and antique furniture sprinkled throughout create a comfortable, welcoming space. In the basement is a bookstore. That's right. A bookstore called the Book Cellar sells used books for donations which are used to help support the library programs.

The grounds of the library are just as lovely as the building. I ended my tour with a walk out back down a flight of steps and across an expansive lawn to the lovely footbridge that leads into town. The sky had cleared considerably making for a pleasant, warm afternoon. I was spared a bleak mood by a lovely trip to the Elk Rapids District Library. If you ever find yourself in the area, stop in. You won't regret it.


mevaydik said...

Our lucky daughter and granddaughters live in Elk Rapids, so this is their home library! When we visit, it's also one of our (and her) favorite places to take the 6-year-old.


Until I could afford the Internet, I would go to the library and sit on the porch with my laptop and use the library's wi-fi. The porch is so beautiful with tables, old fashion table lamps, comfy chairs, rocking chairs and a view overlooking the marina and bay. Another thing the library offers beside books is free jigsaw puzzles. Lots of them on the porch to take home, assemble and bring back if you wish to do so. I have been to a lot of libraries in my time, and the Elk Rapids Library is the most pleasant by far. I look forward to the expansion!