Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Buder Branch of the St. Louis Public Library

Buder is one of seventeen branches in the St. Louis Public Library system.
It is located at 4401 Hampton Avenue at Sutherland Avenue in the St. Louis Hills Neighborhood.



The library has been in three separate locations during its 94 year existence.

Starting in 1922, the library was in the Susan Buder School at 5318 Lansdowne Avenue in the Southampton Neighborhood. The Buder family donated funds for the furniture and equipment as a memorial to Ms. Buder, a well-known philanthropist, for whom the school was named.
photo source: SLPL Then and Now

Then in 1962 the branch moved to 5320 Hampton Avenue in the Princeton Heights Neighborhood. This awesome mid-century mod beauty housed the library until it moved to it's current location. As of publishing, this building is the home of Record Exchange.
photo source: SLPL Then and Now

The Buder branch settled at 4401 Hampton in a former bank and MSD office building. It was dedicated on July 12, 1998.
Per a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article, MSD was the owner of the building before it was fully renovated into a library. Here are some excerpts from the article:
The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District wants to sell the old Hampton Bank Building - a structure it barely used. 
The district bought the building at 4401 Hampton Avenue in 1992 from the Resolution Trust Corp. for $475,000. It had been an office building, owned as an asset by the Missouri Savings and Loan Association. The federal agency inherited the structure when it took over the failed savings and loan. 
The sewer district was about to move its engineering department to 4401 Hampton when the state Supreme Court invalidated a $40 million rate shift, raising the possibility that the district would have to refund the money to customers. 
The move was canceled, as the district tried to conserve funds. On Thursday, the district's trustees declared the building at Hampton and Bancroft avenues as surplus.
Officials had hoped to move as many as 100 employees from the district's headquarters at 2000 Hampton to the building at 4401 Hampton. But parking was available for only about half of them, he said. 
Ultimately, Koeper said, the district would like bigger headquarters. The building should have room for employees in satellite buildings, which are mainly on Knox Avenue near the headquarters, he said. …(source)
The finishes look totally of its time, and for that I love this branch...so 90's right down to the teal and space themed carpet, etched glass, clocks, furniture and children's area.
From the photo above, notice the planet and moon carvings in the chairs. This is a detail that is a common theme to the branches renovated or built in the late 90s, early 00s. A nice touch.

The library has three floors accessible by elevator and a brightly lit winding spiral staircase lined with glass blocks.
The first floor has fiction, periodicals, movies and music.
The second floor has reference, non-fiction, biography, quiet study and computer rooms. 
Third floor is a dedicated kid's and teen floor. The children's area is bright and cheery with lots of art work.
 Straight Outta Compton

My kids loved the take home bags, each with a separate theme with toys, books, music, puzzles, etc. Just grab one and check it out...it's all assembled and ready to go.
Buder is one of several branches with a "Teen Lounge", which were realized through a grant successful written by a library employee. They have sound domes (pictured below) which transmit sound from a stereo system at the staff desk and usually have lounging furniture and plenty of reading material for teens. I can vouch that it works in attracting said age group as one of my kids went straight for it on our visit.
The Buder branch is one of five branches open on Sundays (Julia Davis, Carpenter, Central and Schlafly are the others).

1 comment:

aderjean said...

The staff at the Buder branch is very friendly and helpful for those of us who stumble in for the first time. The entire city library system has books by mail for those of us who have trouble making it to the library or who have other disabilities. This is a wonderful perk!