Laramie County Library in Cheyenne Cheyenne, Wyo.
This brand-new facility opened in September 2007 and boasts more than 100,000 square feet sprawled over three floors. Among amenities are more than 70 computer stations, eight quiet study rooms and a coffeehouse. "But what really stands out for me is the library's second floor, which is devoted to children and teens," Pearl says. "There's a loft area for reading, and kids of all ages can exercise their imaginations at an interactive center where they can create their own short animated films." 307-634-3561; lclsonline.org
The Library Station Springfield, Mo.
Sitting in the southwest corner of Missouri, Springfield was a key stopover for those traveling the famed national highway, Route 66. With that kind of historical link, it's fitting that this popular branch of the Springfield-Greene County Library District is devoted to the theme of transportation. "You can walk Route 66 on the library floor, and an operating miniature train runs along the perimeter of the children's area," Pearl says. 417-865-1340; thelibrary.org/about/hours.cfm
Burton Barr Central LibraryPhoenix
With a design inspired by Arizona's Monument Valley, this striking building includes a five-story atrium, nine huge skylights and a 43,000-square-foot Great Reading Room that occupies the entire fifth floor. "The building also sports glass-enclosed elevators and a grand staircase that's surrounded by a stunning reflecting pool," Pearl says. "Among other amenities, Burton Barr has a highly regarded Special Needs Center and a Teen Center with a 'surround sound' room where kids can watch DVDs." 602-262-4636; phoenixpubliclibrary.org/branchinfo.jsp?bid=BBB
Minneapolis Central Library Minneapolis
"I was lucky enough to visit this Cesar Pelli-designed facility shortly after it opened in 2006," Pearl says. "I was totally taken with the openness and ease of finding my way around its four floors. You can actually see most of the library from wherever you're standing. There are cozy reading lofts, fireplaces on each floor and more than 300 computers with Internet access for free public use." 612-630-6000; mpls.lib.mn.us/central.asp
Readers, let's hear your book-borrowing confessions. What books have you never brought back to the library? Share below.