With a bit of time to kill during our trip to Iceland, we decided to stop by the Reykjavic City Library. It is housed in a six-story building between the small downtown tourism center and the harbor. The top floor hosts the Reykjavic Photography Museum, which currently has an exhibit of black and white photos taken in varying parts of Iceland that really show the real life of the people who choose to farm there. There are also photos of school children and families going back to the early 1900s- an almost forgotten way of life.
The fifth floor has a surprising collection of vinyl records, with a listening station perfectly placed in floor-to-ceiling bay windows, offering the listener a lovely perch over the city of Reykjavic. Not surprisingly, this city actually has a pretty cutting music scene, producing artists such as Bjork, The Sugar Cubes, and of Monsters and Men.
The fourth and third floors are reserved for research and office staff, while the second floor houses the impressive children and teens section. This area includes a large manga section, comfortable reading mats and pillows, a fish tank, games and puzzles, a dress up area perfect fir acting out princess fairy tales or pirate adventure, and a viewing room that seats a dozen or so for videos. The library, in addition to books and records, has a collection of DVDs.
The bottom floor includes a cabinet of pretty old English and Icelandic texts, as well as a small museum shop and the reference/checkout desks. In one area there are used books for sale at a very reasonable rate. The library advertises and hosts events nearly every week, ranging from concerts, lectures, walking tours, and film screenings.
The library is open six days a week in the summer. They can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.
*Don’t confuse the City Library with the National Library, next to the University and National Museum. The University library books are housed there, as well as a manuscript collection, a tapestry from Norway, and stained glass windows that show scenes from Iceland’s history. They also house a Greenland kayak! Unfortunately for this traveling librarian, this library is not open on the weekends.