Grandview Heights Public Library

Jane Hawes

The Grandview Heights Public Library is a cozy and well-stocked find in one of central Ohio's most interesting neighborhoods.

The front entrance faces West First Avenue, but, if driving there, you'll probably want to park in the lot behind the building and use the south entrance. Just be aware that this entrance is only accessible from Ashland Avenue, just to the west of the library.

The Youth Services and Teen areas both reside on the lower level, on opposite sides of a bright atrium that's filled with potted tropical trees. You'll also find restrooms on this level for each gender.

The Youth Services area is especially cozy and packed with books, DVDs, a fish tank, spots in which to sit comfortably, a gated play/reading-time area, and a toy-table area with a dollhouse, train set and Duplo blocks. The picture-book shelves are sorted into several themes: pets, family, new baby, farms, nature - all the topics on which little ones tend to fixate! A five-terminal computer room offers free access to Minecraft.

The Teen area, which bills itself as suited for students in grades 7-12, has more open space, computer terminals and seating (it's also host to popular Teen Open Mic Nights - check the website for dates and times).

On the weekday morning I visited, I encountered a half-dozen parents, hanging out with their young children in the Youth Services area. Robert Schuerger, a downtown Columbus lawyer, said he structures his work schedule so he can be with his 2-year-old daughter Lillian most mornings and their visits to the library are increasing as she ages up to more activities and story-time groups, including a Family Story Time on Wednesday evenings.

"This library is incredible with everything here in one place," Schuerger said, as he sipped a coffee. He kept an eye on Lillian as she moved between the "early literary iPad" table to the dollhouse.

"You meet other parents with kids the same age," he said. "And this space gives her the space to explore."

The Grandview library is independent and funded by a local operating levy, but it's also part of the Central Library Consortium (CLC), which allows members of 13 other library districts, to have borrowing privileges at each other's sites and to return materials to any library in the CLC. Columbus Metropolitan, Upper Arlington, Fairfield County and Worthington are some of the larger districts that are part of the CLC; Westerville and Delaware County are not.