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Mason Library’s makeover

Here’s a photo of our own Mason Library, which is undergoing a major renovation and expansion, on a beautiful winter’s morning.

Mason Library is getting incredible media play, because we’re using a photo of its interior on the cover of our new Heart of the Community: The Libraries We Love. Just as cereal companies don’t let employees participate in their competitions, we decided very early that Mason couldn’t be eligible for selection in the book, but so many people loved the photograph used in our samples that we had to use in on the cover. The remarkable thing is that the photo was taken only days before the staff at Mason began packing things for a move to temporary quarters during the renovation, and the reading room will never look quite the same (notice those card catalogs?) again. But I trust that the special qualities of that room–in 1913 Architecture Magazine wrote, “The building is a veritable chef d’oeuvre, the most exquisitely complete piece of architectural design which has appeared in a long time, and . . . . It is perhaps not too much to say that this is the most attractive small library building in America. . . . The most interesting part of the interior is the manner in which the stack room opens into the reading room, a matter that would have appeared difficult to reconcile the lightness and grace of Colonial detail with the apparent weight of the coffered ceiling.” –will be preserved in the new library, which will open later this year.

Yes, indeed , you can see a dusting of snow in the photo above, taken earlier today. We are so eager to have some real winter that when Jenn’s going out coincided with more flurries it was decided that she would have to stay outside if that’s what it took to keep snow falling. Sadly, the magic didn’t continue to work. But as we’re having a dumpling party tonight as Liz’s house in remote and lovely Southfield, that may be for the best. The party is scheduled for the first night of a new PBS series, “China from the Inside,” and also to take advantage of Tom’s being home from college. He’s our resident caterer, and a dab hand at dumplings. At college he and friends even made the wrappers.

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