Ann Arbor’s Wonderful Libraries


Last week Thursday and Friday my wife and I took a few days off to explore the city of Ann Arbor, a couple of hours east of Grand Rapids.


And while Ann Arbor is home to the mighty victors, the University of Michigan Wolverines, it is also home to a great study and research university, supported by its wonderful libraries, archives, and special collections.


Plus, the downtown area is packed with great eateries (Zingerman’s famous deli – our lunch stop!) and shops, including a few bookstores.


We spent time visiting several of the libraries, including the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, the sister center to the Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids (both operated by the National Archives).



There are terrific displays of Ford’s life and work, as a student-athlete at UM (he played football), as a long-time congressman from Grand Rapids, then as the Vice-president of the U.S. under R. Nixon, and then as President. The other side of the library features Ford’s influential wife Betty. It is worth your while to visit this important presidential library.


But there are other libraries that hold amazing treasures too. Probably my favorite is the William Clements Library, named after one of the university’s early regents who donated his collection of rare books, maps, etc. to UM and for which this library was built in 1923.


It is a beautiful old structure, designed with Italian renaissance style. And the holdings are truly amazing.


Another wonderful library was the Hatcher Graduate Library, especially its special collections. This included a room which held the desk of poet Robert Frost who taught at UM,  the rare St. John’s Bible, and a 2nd-3rd century Greek papyrus (P-46) of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Corinthians (chapters 11-12).



But the other libraries are wonderful too (all in a cluster in the central campus area), such as this one.



And so is the Museum of Art located in that same cluster.



One of the first rooms you enter is full of art with Christian and biblical themes – from the Flood to Esther, to St. John on Patmos.



And, of course, among the shops in town we visited was a classic old bookstore, and another store that had some neat book art.


But don’t worry, our trip was not just about libraries and bookstores. We also did some other shopping, spent a few hours at Ikea in nearby Canton, and played a round of golf on the way home. Two great days of relaxing while profiting from the world of books, archives, and history.20190607_100724-effects
The Lawyers Club at UM.