While browsing the internet one day, I came across a webpage that listed the top 15 (or so) weirdest buildings. As I scrolled through, it ranged from the architecturally daring to the down right oddest looking buildings to exist. Number thirteen in particular, caught my eye. The building was part of a public library and the outside was made to look like an enormous bookshelf with the book spines of several classics forming the building wall. I was so excited that a building like this actually existed because I love to read and I love books. But when I went to read the caption, I thought for sure it was a mistake. The location listed was none other than my hometown of Kansas City, Missouri!

MY hometown. How could a building like this exist and go undetected for the 20 years that I lived in that city? But there it was, staring up at me from the confines of my laptop. A minute later and it had been Google-confirmed. It DOES exist!

With a little further digging, I discovered that it isn’t the actual library that is made out of books, but it is the parking garage right next door.

But still, how many parking garages look like a collection of classic books?


When I actually sought out to find this parking-garage-bookshelf, I again started to think that it was a unicorn structure, because it wasn’t appearing large and evasive in front of my face like I supposed it would. I mean, these books are supposed to be ginormous! In fact, I drove around through several detours and reroutes trying to get back on track, when it suddenly appeared out of nowhere—all glowing and near-mythical.

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Ok, not really glowing, but the structure IS unusual and I was shocked I had never heard anyone mention it before.

AND it even has a name: The Community Bookshelf.

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These things are not easy to photograph on a fairly narrow street!

These books stand about 25 ft high (9 ft wide) and run the length of the south side of the parking garage for the Central Library. There are 22 books that were chosen to represent a wide variety of interests. Amongst those titles, you will find the likes of Langston Hughes (The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes), Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird), Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities), J. R. R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings) and many others.

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I was so busy marveling at the books and their titles that it took me a while to realize that even the stairs form stacks of concrete books.

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…which, in my opinion, sort of makes this one of the coolest parking garages out there!

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Want to visit The Community Bookshelf?

Check it out in Downtown Kansas City on 10th street between Wyandotte Street and Baltimore Avenue.


For the full list of book titles, click here:

The Kansas City Public Library


Posted in Home, Midwest, U.S.A and tagged , , .


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