While on vacation recently, I forgot my resolve to separate work and play and found myself back in libraryland. I went on a library hunt. This started as I waited on the cruise ship dock in Juneau, Alaska. While waiting for the group to gather for a whale watching trip, I wandered around the area. I noticed a door in the nearby parking garage labeled Juneau Public Library. The library is located on the top floor of the garage!
Unusual, but given the space constraints of Juneau, this makes sense. Intrigued, I started looking to see what other libraries I could find on my trek across Alaska and the Yukon.
I visited some of the Yukon Public Libraries. The main library is in the government seat of the Yukon, Whitehorse. They have a beautiful modern building with views of the surrounding mountains. There is a glass wall reading area with gorgeous views. Here I chatted with a friendly librarian who gave me a book bag with the library logo of three ravens on it.
Whitehorse is the largest of the Yukon libraries. The 14 others in the system are much smaller community libraries.
I found the Isabelle Pringle Community Library in the tiny village of Carcross. The summer season is the busy season in Carcross with all the tourist trade. We were among the last groups of the year to stop there. The library is settling in to the slower off season, open 23 hours a week.
The Dawson City Community Library is located in somewhat larger Dawson City. This city of 3,000 permanent residents is best known for being the destination of the Klondike gold rush stampeders of 1897-8. Most of the gold these days comes from the tourists, rather than the ground. Much of the downtown area is composed of historic buildings. The sidewalks are wooden and the streets are unpaved, in keeping with the historic setting. Quaintness comes with a price, however. Unpaved streets mean a lot of mud and dust. The Dawson Community Library is the only library I’ve ever been in that requires shoes to be removed.
My time in Alaska was filled with river boating and wilderness trekking so I didn’t have the opportunity to visit the libraries in Fairbanks and Anchorage. I did do a little research. The Fairbanks Library has a North Pole branch. How the youngest customers must love having Santa in their backyard!
Anchorage is Alaska’s largest city. They have a large, attractive main building, the Z. J. Loussac Library and four branches.
Big or small, I found the libraries at the top of the world to be well loved and filled with much the same materials that one would find in the lower 48 states.
Read about my other travel adventures in Termination Dust.