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Kansas City Public Library Parking Garage

Need some suggestions for a good read? Pick up some ideas in the parking garage of Kansas City's Central Library.

John Dillon/Flickr Vision/Getty Images

If you tried to read the copy of "To Kill a Mockingbird" found on the Community Bookshelf outside Kansas City's Central Library, you'd be both disappointed and thrilled. First, the spine of the book measures 25 feet by 9 feet (7.6 meters by 2.7 meters). Second, the oversized spine doesn't bind a real book. It forms, along with 21 other literary favorites, a false front for the library's parking garage. Instead of hiding the garage behind the main building or settling for the standard block of concrete, the building's designers decided to keep the garage, which opened in 2004, front and center and make it part of the library-going experience.

The project team also involved the community. Kansas City residents suggested which titles to include on the bookshelf, and the library's board of trustees narrowed the list down to 22 works of fiction, nonfiction and poetry, including two volumes dedicated to Kansas City stories. Along with Harper Lee's masterpiece, you'll find "Catch-22" by Joseph Heller, "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury, "Silent Spring" by Rachel Carson, "Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison, "A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens and "Charlotte's Web" by E.B. White. They're all giants of literature, of course, now with a physical form equal to their stature.

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