I have been a book lover for as long as I can remember. When I was about 5 or 6 years old, I begged to have my own library card instead of just using my Mom’s card. I remember how proud I felt as I signed the back of my very own public library card (in my childish, giant handwriting). I have no idea where that library card is today, but I’m sure it would make me laugh if I saw it!
When I lived in Vancouver, I often visited the Vancouver Public Library. They have multiple branches around the city and a beautiful Central Library Branch located downtown. I especially like the variety of eBooks they have available; I think I’ve been able to find almost every book I’ve wanted to read through their digital collection.
I love visiting libraries in other countries, too. When I studied abroad in Christchurch, New Zealand for a year, I spent a good chunk of time at the Christchurch City Libraries checking out as many books as my limit would allow. (My reduced course load gave me a lot of unexpected extra time!)
Given my love of reading, I’m surprised how long it took me to get around to becoming a member of a local library when I moved to Germany. One day when we were visiting our local town hall, S and I passed by our town’s library which is surprisingly modern and spacious. We browsed around a bit but didn’t look into membership and promptly forgot about signing up for one.
About a year later, S and I attended an event in Stuttgart through Meet Up, a social networking site that organizes group meetings in different cities around the world. We were chatting with a man about things to do and see in Stuttgart and he spoke highly of the Stuttgart city library (the Stadtbibliothek). He told us about their wide collection of books, DVDs, audiobooks, and even art work(!). Not long afterward, S and I made a point of signing up for a membership.
Though the membership is a little pricey (18 Euros per year for adults, but free for children up to the age of 18), the collection of books and media available are pretty great. They have a variety of fiction books in 25 different languages (including Spanish, Turkish, French, and Italian, just to name a few) with one wall entirely dedicated to English fiction books and DVDs. There are also select non-fiction books available in foreign languages.
One thing that surprised me at the Stadtbibliothek Stuttgart is how many times you can renew a book. S took out a non-fiction book back in September (when we signed up for a membership) and he has had it ever since! I think we’ve renewed that book 5 times already and we haven’t had to bring it back yet. I’m sure if someone put a hold on it, we’d have to return it, but I guess nobody else in Stuttgart is interested in a German language book about the US political system!
My first impression of the library is that it looks a little industrial.
How to get there: The Stadtbibliothek Stuttgart is located at Mailänder Platz 1 in Stuttgart and is open from Monday to Saturday, 9am – 9pm. If using public transportation to get to the library, you can take the U-Bahn on lines U5, U6, U7, U12 or U15 to the Stadtbibliothek stop. It’s located one stop north of the Hauptbahnhof (main train station).
Have you been to the Stadtbibliothek Stuttgart? What do you think of it?