Today we left from Newton, Kansas, and headed west. Strong winds (up to 23 mph) developed throughout the day but luckily, they were coming from the south. Half-way through the day, we stopped at the Buhler Public Library in Buhler, Kansas, a farming community with a population of about 1300 people. The town is well-known as a shopping location with a thriving downtown with cafes, clothing stores, and boutiques. Throughout our travels across the United States, John and I have been rather shocked at the number of towns that no longer have a grocery store but instead have a Casey’s Market or Dollar General. Towns with populations over 1000 people where you cannot buy a banana or fresh vegetables. But Buhler has a wonderful and successful downtown grocery store. One reason may be that Buhler voted NO to allowing Dollar General to come to town. Good for you Buhler, we like your support of local business and fresh and nutritious food.
The library is well-situated downtown, right across from the grocery store. In 2013, the library was remodeled and expanded to include the store space next door, gifted to the library by the previous owner. Many town residents helped with the renovation, working to improve their library. Inside the building, the space is well-organized, cheerfully decorated, cozy, and welcoming. It has the feeling of a library mixed with a coffee shop. In fact, you can buy a cup of coffee or cocoa and relax in one of two areas: a comfy corner with cushy chairs and fireplace or a large open area with surrounding windows. I daydreamed about moving to Buhler just so we could hang out downtown and at the library. It is that adorable.
Pam Fast is the Library Director for Buhler Public Library. She grew up in Buhler, used the Buhler Public Library as a kid, and has worked at the library for 23 years. She’s created some great summer programming including a series of craft activities and summer reading programs for adults and kids, plus story time. She knows about the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail on the north end of Buhler and says bicycle tourists drop in to use the computers and wifi, no ID required. Shoppers and other tourists, plus relatives of families in the area use the library, especially families with kids. In fact, anyone with a valid ID can sign up for a library card and receive full privileges. Even two bicycle tourists/librarians currently living in North Carolina.
Thank you, Pam, for letting us check out your library and talking with us. You’ve created a welcoming space full of atmosphere, great resources, and some special programming. Buhler really is a special place.