Denver Public Library
10 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy., Denver
HOURS: Mon.–Tues. 10 a.m.–8 p.m., Wed.–Fri. 10 a.m.–6 p.m.,
Sat. 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. 1–5 p.m.
Denverites love their libraries; statistics show that Denver has the highest number of library cardholders per capita in the country. But the Central Library of the Denver Public Library system is no ordinary library, and it holds not just books but also a large art collection, photograph archives, and genealogy data.
The Central Library was designed by well-known architect Michael Graves and opened in 1995 with 47 miles of books. Each section is roomy and huge windows bring in the natural light.
Visit the 5th floor’s Western Art Gallery and Gates Western Reading Room to see the library’s Western Art collection. Only a fraction of the entire 400 framed pieces can be on display at one time—including works by Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Remington, and Thomas Moran—and thousands of sculptures, etchings, lithographs, and other artifacts dating back to the mid-1800s.
While taking a peek at the art that is hung in an entryway hallway and set out between the stacks, you’re bound to see people quietly conducting research, as this is also the Western History/Genealogy Department with a massive collection of digital photographs related to the history of the American West and Colorado.
If you still have time, the library’s 7th floor has not just administrative offices but also long hallways bedecked with a bit more Western Art. The Vida Ellison Gallery hosts exhibits of artwork made by local artists, including library staff, and the gallery provides a nice view of Civic Center Park and downtown.
The library also hosts themed film series, guest lectures, book clubs, concerts, knitting and cooking classes, and more events throughout the year. Pick up the Fresh City Life magazine at any library for the current month’s schedule.
© Mindy Sink from Moon Denver, 1st Edition