William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library at Ohio State University is now open, and columnist Joe Blundo in the Columbus Dispatch calls it 'a Taj Mahal of a library' (as it should be at the cost of $108.7 million). ...pictures!
The place has everything: reading material, curios, terrific views and coffee. The Thompson library was built in 1913, enlarged several times and desecrated in 1965. That's when its Grand Reading Room -- a magnificent, arched space -- was divided horizontally to add a second floor.
Well, the room has been restored to its arched glory. It feels important and scholarly: When I walked in, the place was packed with students but so silent I could hear pages turning.
The building also has an 11th-floor reading room, where I would have curled up with a good book in front of a window had a seat been available. The room is a reader's aerie, with commanding views of campus and beyond.
I've heard it said that modern libraries too often de-emphasize books in favor of electronic material. Not so this place, at least visually. Thanks to glass walls, you can stand in its atrium, look up and see stacks of books rising floor after floor above you.