Despite our fast-paced internet and television culture, Americans and Northern Virginians still enjoy cracking open a good book from time to time. The book industry is a mega-billion dollar industry with giants like Barnes & Noble, Borders Books, and online behemoth Amazon.com leading the pack. Small independent bookstores have increasingly been forced out of the market as the big bookstores add gourmet coffee shops and plush reading couches to their shops to entice the book-reading public.
However, if you wish to save some money and get a real sense of community, it's time to skip the bookstore and skip on over to Charles E. Beatley, Jr. Alexandria Library.
Located at 5005 Duke Street in the West End of Alexandria, the Charles E. Beatley, Jr. library is the central library of the Alexandria City system. Opened in January 2000, this 60,000+ square foot modern building across Duke Street from the Cameron Station neighborhood offers books, periodicals, DVDs, audiobooks, CDs, internet stations, reading areas, meeting rooms and more.
Approaching the stately entrance between a circle of tall pillars, one senses something special when entering the library. Inside the doors you are greeted by sculptures, paintings, or whatever other public art is on display during the month. The soaring ceilings inside add grace and presence and a relaxing atmosphere for perusing the neatly laid out stacks of reading material.
To your left you'll find the extensive children's section where your kids can choose from old classics like Winnie the Pooh, Dr. Seuss, and Nancy Drew mysteries and new selections such as Harry Potter and the Deathly Harrows. Walking past the checkout counter, you'll find a multitude of public internet stations where you can surf the internet for fun, research, or work for up to 120 minutes at a time.
Further into the Charles E. Beatley, Jr. Library, you'll find neatly laid out areas of interest including literature, non-fiction, instructional, reference, young adult, and in the far end are the periodicals with comfortable, relaxing chairs and couches for catching up on the latest news or reports.
On any given day, you'll find Alexandrians old and young alike enjoying the library. High school and college students congregate to quietly study and work together on their homework in the environment of the library. Seniors enjoy reading, volunteering at the library, and relaxing away from the hustle-bustle of the D.C. area. The library has several meeting areas that are available for community groups, companies, and individuals to rent for meetings and small functions. You'd be hard-pressed to find a day when the parking lot at Charles E. Beatley, Jr. library isn't near capacity. Click here for the library's schedule of events.
Want to find out what's going on around town? Near the entrance, the library has a community bulletin board with various postings by different community organizations and local performing groups.
Just browsing and not sure what to read? The staff of the library has produced helpful reference pamphlets to point you to some of the best reads in whatever area may interest you. Some of their informative guides include:
- "And the Winner Is...Award Winning Books at Beatley Central Library,"
- "Whodunnits in History -- Fictional Works Featuring Historical Figures,"
- "Learning English,"
- "Resources for Buying a Home,"
- "Chick Lit." -- novels dealing with love, marriage, fidelity, work & friendship, usually written by women for women.
Stop spending so much time and money at the big bookstores. Discover and support your community.
Skip on down to Charles E. Beatley, Jr. Central Library today. Get your library card and delve in.
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