For those of us subsisting on a Ramen Noodle Budget, it can be disheartening to wake up on a beautiful sunny day, feeling full of adventure and exploration …. and be too broke to splurge on a day in The Metropolitan. This series of Cochise County Sunny Day Out delves into activities and places in and around Cochise County to enjoy as a morning-noon-evening excursion for groups / individuals, and each recommendation is either free or costs minimal.
Throughout the world, three features of a civilization have always testified to the society’s intellectual accomplishments: the library, the museum, and the zoo. Cochise County doesn’t normally ping anyone’s radar for sophistication, so discovering the variety of options may pleasantly surprise many people. Most people would not associate a library with an outlet for fun social interaction, as libraries have traditionally represented research, learning, musty books, and “Shhhh, Quiet!” Over the decades, however, the modern public library has transformed from a book lending and storage facility into a community and cultural center with exciting new features, and Cochise County has met the trend and even set some benchmarks.
Something very unique about the libraries of Cochise County: they do not belong to a branch system as most libraries around the nation do (Pima County libraries are an example of the branch system). Libraries throughout Cochise County operate as a “lending consortium”, and this translates to “sharing materials without sharing the budget and workforce”.
In Cochise County, libraries must secure their own funding, and the cities play a larger role here in fiscal support. Each library stands unique from the others in décor, programs, special exhibitions, and general climate, completely unlike the “cookie cutter libraries” in a branch system. Individual locations build and allocate resources and services which they identify most relevant to the demographic they serve.
The Copper Queen Library in Bisbee
The Copper Queen Library enjoys a prime location amid the shopping, tourism, and cultural performances in the Historic Bisbee district – so if you plan a Sunny Day Out here, you’ll have plenty to peruse with one stop. However, the library deserves its own article as it provides enough fascination to occupy attention for more than a couple hours.
The building currently housing The Copper Queen Library was constructed in 1907, and has original furnishings. The structure exudes antiquity, but given that the Stepping Back in Time atmosphere works well here, it fits harmoniously with the rest of the district’s environment. The building was renovated in 1997 to include an elevator for those who are restricted from using stairs.
Special features of the Copper Queen Library. Located on the 2nd floor, the Rare Books Room welcomes you to peek at the literary interests of residents and civilization occupying this cosmos in the late 1800’s. The collection reflects a notable interest in the natural sciences with great emphasis on geology and mining, Western exploration, English literature, Arizona society, and Christian variations of ceremony and worship.
Book lovers can easily spend the day browsing the titles and contents of old-fashioned volumes with sewn binding. Individual books provide a sensory adventure with the smell of old pages and ink, the feel of varying leaf textures and thickness, the bygone era print and illustrations.
One feature some children will love discovering – and some adult aged children will love rediscovering – are the Pop-up Books Collection stored in its own cabinet in the children’s section. Each book is cleverly constructed around a time old fascination: Medieval Days and Knights, Pre-Historic Megabeasts, Pre-Historic Sharks and Sea Monsters, Gods and Heroes, Dinosaurs, Dragons and Monsters, and more. Then there are pop ups about holiday celebrations and other educational varieties. A few pop ups center around traditional storybooks such as Peter Pan and The Wonderful Wizard of OZ. Absorbing the artwork and playing with the tabs can occupy a couple hours.
Library services and programs. The Copper Queen Library currently only loans out materials to Bisbee residents, but their programs welcome everyone from residents to visitors from far away. Their events calendar is available on their website, and each month is filled with day and afternoon / early evening activities for toddlers to children who never really grow old. Note: the library is only open right now from Monday to Friday, and they are looking to allocate funding and staff to be able to open during weekends.
Sunny Days Out adventurers from nearby Mexico, the library may not always schedule a Spanish fluent librarian at this time, but hopefully this does not deter anyone from touring the library, and some materials give great insight into Mexican history and cultural development of the late 1800’s to early 1900’s.
Fellow explorers from China, resources at the Copper Queen Library may even assist with researching heritage and history of those who came to the American West during the mining and railroad developments.
Many Happy Sunny Days Out!