Hanging from the skylight of the four-story atrium of the Des Plaines Public Library is a holographic sculpture of separate rectangles each stamped with a different letter or symbol, like literature captured in flight. “Sky Word,” by Kristina Lucas and Michael Hayden, is a fitting welcome to a library that balances its extensive collection with prominently displayed artwork. The newly rebuilt library opened in August 2000 and acts as an anchor in the revitalized downtown of Des Plaines. “It was intended to be a visible central structure that would not come and go like retail,” said Roberta Johnson, head of adult services. Most of the library, including the terrace on the fourth floor that looks out over downtown Des Plaines, is wi-fi equipped. The Youth Services Department has a reading boat, a Poet Tree, an 80-foot mural interpreting classic folk-tale elements, an aquarium and a reading room with an underwater river mural on all four walls. According to Johnson, the same thoughtfulness was given to other parts of the library: the Rotary Heritage Room is technology-free, artwork can be checked out and this weekend, a used book sale will occupy 10,000 squarea feetof the library that doubles as an art gallery.
Visit: Des Plaines Public Library, 1501 Ellinwood St., 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, or go to dppl.org.
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