The Library, Ltd.
I miss this place. The Library, Ltd. was the largest independently-owned book store in St. Louis before its sale in 1997. I fell in love with it the first time a friend and I drove through Clayton at night to get there.
The store was huge: 2 floors full of large, open rooms of books. Each room contained places to sit and read everything from obscure title to best seller. The children's section had a castle you could walk through with funhouse mirrors on the inside. To get into it you crossed a bridge over a moat of goldfish.
It always felt like the store was expanding. Every time you visited, something new had been added. They started selling music and added a coffee shop upstairs.
I loved it so much I tried to get hired several times without success. Eventually I got a bookseller position at Barnes & Noble down the street. Even though I felt like a traitor, I still shopped at Library Ltd.
After years of running the store, the owners sold to Borders. I went in one day without any knowledge of the sale and walked out with my books in a Borders bag. I showed up one night a few years later and there was a sign on the door saying that Borders had moved a couple miles away to Brentwood Square. They filed for bankruptcy and closed all their stores in 2011.
Occasionally I would find myself in Clayton, driving by the building at Hanley and Forsyth, remembering how great Library Ltd used to be. In 2008, a big health care company demolished the building and built a new one. To their credit, the new building is pretty cool (especially when the wind is blowing). The only thing left of Library Ltd. are the memories.