KC Activity #2 – Kansas City Library (Downtown Branch)
14 W 10th St, Kansas City, MO 64105
Atmosphere: Quiet, relaxing
Cuisine: Coffee shop and snacks
Features: Movie vault, study rooms, rooftop terrace
Good for: Families, students, everyone
Pro Tip: Parking around the library can be a pain, so take the streetcar if you can. There is a parking garage that’s free for the first hour, if you get your ticket validated in the library.
When I moved to Kansas City two years ago, one of the first things I did was get my library card. I’ve always been the biggest book nerd, but right after college I couldn’t really afford to buy books. So, the library it was.
I’ve challenged myself to read 25 books each year for the past two years, so I’ve been a frequent visitor at the Kansas City library. But, I’ve never taken the time to fully explore the downtown branch. It has so much to offer, and I didn’t even know it.
- Rooftop terrace(!)
- Art galleries
- Children’s area
- Film vault
- Missouri Valley special collections
- Grand reading room and so much more
After spending an hour or so exploring, I cannot say enough. This old building has incredible history and is so beautiful – chandeliers, marbling, recessed ceilings (when can I move in?). It seems that every corner is filled with art or antique furniture.
A few fun things:
- When the Kansas City library moved into the building in 2004, they turned an old bank vault into a movie room, complete with walls of steel and a 35-ton steel door.
- One wall of the library’s parking garage is covered in 25-feet-tall book spines. The “community bookshelf” showcases 22 books that were suggested by Kansas City readers.
- The 5th floor houses well-curated information about the structural and transportation plans for downtown Kansas City after World War II. A lot of the plans didn’t happen because of suburbanization.
One of my favorite parts about visiting the Kansas City library is the head security officer. I don’t think I’ve met anyone who so friendly each and every day. He’s quick to greet you with a big smile, and is a huge fan of the library, too. He always shares new and exciting things the library has to offer, like the new checkout system and summer movie nights. The sweetest guy!