America’s most beautiful public Library : Kansas City

When you grow up in Kansas City and move away, you get used to people making Wizard of Oz jokes and assuming you drove a tractor to school pretty quickly. Though it took leaving to make me fully realize it, my hometown is rich in culture, and not just because it has amazing jazz and the world’s best barbecue.

The building that houses the library was originally built as a bank in 1906, with all the marble and mahogany-covered grandeur one would expect from early 20th-century architecture

Upon entering, take a stroll through Kirk Hall

The bank’s vault, built in 1925 with walls of steel and reinforced concrete and a 35-ton steel door, lives on as home of film screenings and theater events.

The children’s reading area is magical and inviting.

The Grand Reading Room takes up the third and fourth floors, which are lined with bookshelves and connected by a marble-and-glass staircase

Go up to the fifth floor to enjoy the Missouri Valley Reading Room

Keep on going, and you’ll wind up on the rooftop terrace.

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