It might seem weird to include a library on a list of a city’s must-see attractions (especially in a city like Vegas), but the Las Vegas-Clark County Library system has really done their most.
If you’re a reader, local art seeker, or just someone with an extra hour on your hands on the west side of the city looking for a cool, comfortable place to waste some time, the Sahara West Library is a place worth doing it.
So are many other Vegas library branches, a couple of which are closer to Vegas’s less cerebral (and more famous) attractions.
The Sahara West Library Building
The building the Sahara West library is housed in is impressive.
Driving up, it looks more like a museum or concert venue. For good reason.
It is part museum.
Inside, you’ll find two galleries that showcase exhibits by local and regional artists.
You’ll also find a used bookstore, clean restrooms, and a quiet space with tables and chairs, perfect for just chilling.
Clark County Library, the nearest branch to the Strip, and East Las Vegas Library, the nearest branch to Fremont Street, are housed in even more impressive buildings, both of which feature galleries and bookstores.
If you enjoy a small art museum as a general rule, you’ll probably enjoy a trip to one of these Vegas libraries.
What’s On Display
One of the things we like least about Vegas is that it’s severely culturally lacking.
Yes, there are plenty of things to see and do, but these things are largely in the same vein – spectacle.
Lots of concerts, magicians, naughty shows, fights, and comedians, but not a single real art museum.
In fact, Las Vegas is one of the few major cities in the United States without a real art museum. (Some people are trying to change that, so hopefully they’ll succeed at some point.)
Basically, Vegas is a neon city, not a hotspot for quiet, subtle creativity.
But the Las Vegas Library galleries do their best to fill that void.
You won’t find any Picassos here (you won’t find them at the Bellagio anymore either), but the exhibits in the LV Library art galleries are well-chosen and displayed with care.
If you like local art, or just art in general really, it’s worth getting to one, and definitely better than anything you’ll see in the “galleries” on the Strip.
(We’re talking to you Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art with your blip exhibitions at exorbitant prices.)
(yeah, that Bellagio “gallery” is a real fucking pathetic excuse for an art gallery. – Shawna)
What You Should Know
Most of the unique (and ample) events held at LV Library branches are for library card holders, but the galleries and used book stores are open to everyone.
This includes the “meet the artists” receptions held whenever the galleries open a new exhibit.
So, if you’d like to meet a local artist while in Vegas, this is your chance.
Do We Recommend It?
Yep. The Las Vegas-Clark County Library branches nearest the major attractions – Clark County Library and East Las Vegas Library – are close enough it’s worth a quick side trip to pop into one.
If local art and small galleries are your bag, I even consider a Vegas library a “must see.”
It will probably be some of the best (most interesting) local art you’ll see while you’re in town.