Hey, let's all take a quick minute right now to acknowledge those brilliant beacons of books—free books, for goodness sake!—that dot towns across the country. The Public Library, a new hardback by photographer Robert Dawson, offers a poignant look at the incredible architectural range of these community hubs.

Flipping through shows just how many incarnations there are out there—and they all elicit a completely different emotional response. There are ultra-modern, tech-heavy centers, sites situated in strip malls, single, run-down rooms in small towns, and grand heritage buildings with built-in civic pride. The whole thing makes me think back to my own specific hometown branch that first introduced the adventures of reading way back when (shout out to Hermosa Beach!), and how that place planted in me a deep-seeded affection for text-based escape.


I've picked out a few way wide-ranging examples from the book—which you can buy for $23—and would love to hear your favorite library stories below.

Super Bingo, Family Dollar, and Mockingbird Branch Library, Abilene, Texas, 2011

Library, Death Valley National Park, California, 2009

Central Library, Seattle, Washington, 2009

The Globe Chandelier near Children's Library, Central Library, Los Angeles, California, 2008

Yarborough Branch Library, Austin, Texas, 2011

Caliente Branch Library in former Union Pacific railroad station, Caliente, Nevada, 2012

View from main library of the Wasatch Mountains, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2010

Vault and door, Central Library, Kansas City, Missouri, 2012

Rudy's Library, Monowi, Nebraska, 2012

Rifle-training class, West Wendover Branch Library, West Wendover, Nevada, 2010