duck-shaped pain


23 April 2006
My library.

One of the things I like most about where I live in ABQ is my branch library. Other libraries are bigger, have more parking and a better selection of books, but none of them are as interesting, in my opinion, as the Ernie Pyle library.

(Click on photos to see a larger version.)

This library is located in the house of renowned World War II journalist Ernie Pyle. Although he and his wife were not natives to Albuquerque, they felt very attached to the city, and lived here a long time. Pyle was killed in 1945 while covering the Pacific war, and after his wife died later that same year, their house was donated to the city, and was turned into a library.

Every square inch of the house is used. Here are two shots of the interior. As you can see, the house's closets do double duty as shelving. The closet in the second shot houses the library's collection of books on tape. If you want to see the children's books, you have to go through the kitchen. The periodicals are stored in the bathroom (where else, of course). The house's front room has the computers, the CDs and DVDs, the self-checkout machine, and all the other accoutrements of the twenty-first-century public library. It's very crowded in there.

The library also features a collection of Ernie Pyle memorabilila: pictures, awards, copies of his writings. The table in the foreground of the second picture above has a display of photos under glass. (Most of these items are kept in glass cases, and I didn't get any good, glare-free photos of them.)

One thing that always strikes me when I go inside is how tiny this house seems in comparison to those built today. Of course, it seems smaller, given the amount of books, chairs, and other things inside, but it's still quite a diminutive building. It's always very sunny and pleasant inside, though: it must have been a nice place to live.

Outside is a nicely tended front lawn, a white picket fence, pleasant places to sit, and a memorial. This large white stone memorial, with an excerpt from one of Pyle's most famous essays, The Death of Captain Waskow.

the past + the future

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