This article was first published at Maastricht Region: to Live.
Maastricht’s public library at the Centre Ceramique is a great resource with not only a large collection of fiction and non-fiction books, but also art and history exhibitions, special events for adults and children, and a nice café where you can sit forever. Even without a library card, here are 5 things to do when you go to the library.
1) Explore the Exhibits
At any given time the library usually has two artistic, historical, or cultural exhibitions going on. As you walk in the front doors, you will often been confronted with an intriguing photograph exhibit filling up the atrium space and frequently themed after Maastricht’s culture and/or history. If you mount the steps behind the stepped seating area, you can often find a second exhibition in Museale Zaal. Here more in-depth historical exhibits usually reside.
2) Drink Coffee in the Café
On the first floor overlooking the atrium of the library is a small café/cafeteria with lots of open seating. They serve coffee, lunch stuff, and sweets during regular operating hours and is a great place to sit with a cup of coffee and read a book or write. I find the library a superior place to blog since there is no wait staff to wonder when I’m going to clear up a table (or order another drink).
3) Visit the Stacks
Even without a library card you are always welcome to visit the stacks. The second floor on up houses the non-fiction collection which is mostly in Dutch, but with a few English language titles mixed in. You can find English and Dutch fiction in the basement, along with the children’s department.
4) Muddle through Dutch Comics
Comic books are a fun way to practice my Dutch reading comprehension and is relatively non-threatening with images to help me understand the story and few large blocks of text. Comics are all downstairs and are refreshingly not superhero stories (for the most part).
5) Toilet Break
The library has a free bathroom. It may not seem like a big deal, but there aren’t many free toilet facilities in Maastricht.
Free services not enough? If you want to check out a book from the library, you’ll have to purchase a library card. Fortunately the process is pretty inexpensive and easy. Just bring some proof of address and cash next time you visit and a library staff member can walk you through the application process.