After three years and 55 million dollars, Tulsa’s central library downtown reopened in October. The old building had been around since 1965, and although it had once been a state-of-the-art facility, by 2011, the building was rundown and outdated.
Now, it has reclaimed its spot as the jewel in the Tulsa library system crown. The central library has three floors and each floor is unique. The first floor features the media collection, a children’s section and a Starbucks. In lieu of a traditional front desk, there are a few self-checkout machines; the library employees roam around the different sections in an effort to make themselves more available. There is also a “Maker Space” with a variety of tools that would appeal to engineering and art students alike: a CNC carver, laser engraver, vinyl cutter, screen printing press, two 3D printers, sewing machines, knitting and crocheting hooks, soldering supplies and an audio lab for recording.
These tools are all free, but you need to bring your own materials. Each floor also has a business center for faxing, copying, printing and scanning. To access the items, you need a Tulsa City County Library card, but to attain one you just have to live, work or go to school in Tulsa County.
The second floor houses the library’s main collection of books, but also has a section for using tablets and a wraparound balcony. Both the second and third floor have several study rooms available to reserve either upon arrival or in advance via phone call. The rooms can hold small groups, and the outside walls are windows. Additionally, the third floor is the reference section, which includes a computer lab and a whole room with materials just on Oklahoma and Tulsa. This floor also features a collage created by TU art professor Mark Lewis.
Fun Facts: Central library boasts an outdoor courtyard with a movie screen, seating and speakers. Dots and lines on the wall behind the screen are Morse code for “libraries change lives.” Every year, the library’s board awards distinguished author prizes of $40,000 to an author of merit, and you can listen to their acceptance speeches on the first floor. The library also collects rainwater to reuse for watering the grass, and there are solar panels on the parking garage.
Parking: Free for the first two hours or the length of a full library class. The easiest way to access it is to turn into the traffic circle in front of the entrance off of Denver.