Today I discovered a treasure: The McClatchy Library.

The recent Academy Award-nominated movie Lady Bird showed many of Sacramento’s landmarks, and visitors now tour the spots featured in the movie. It’s nice to see people discover what California’s capital city has to offer, and here is one more site for the list: the Ella K. McClatchy Library

I stumbled across this historical jewel box by accident. I was early for an appointment nearby and decided to hunt for a library to kill some time. Libraries are pretty much my favorite places in the world because they are open to the public, free, and offer water fountains, restrooms and, best of all, rooms full of books.

The building was older than most libraries I frequent, and as I walked up the steps my eyes were caught by a historical marker. “Hmmm,” I thought. I can’t resist historical markers, either.

It said the house, which was built in the early 1900s and renovated in 2013, was once inhabited by the McClatchy family, owners of the Sacramento Bee. Two of their daughters donated their home to be used as a library in memory of their mother. As a former newspaper reporter and editor, and fan of the Sacramento Bee, I was intrigued.

Moments later I found myself inside a charmer of a house, lovingly turned into a public library without losing an ounce of the warmth and welcoming feeling of the family home it once was. The dining room, living room, and other rooms are now lined with bookcases with mystery novels, children’s books, magazines and more. There is an intimate computer room. Halfway up the wooden staircase, the landing glowed with light passing through a gorgeous stained glass window, with inviting-looking, green-cushioned window seats. Upstairs, former bedrooms turned into reading rooms  furnished with the house’s original sofas, armchairs, and rugs invited visitors to come in, sit down, and stay a while.

The library has not exactly spent all these years unknown to the public. The Sacramento Historical Society and the Newton Booth Neighborhoods Association have honored the Friends of the McClatchy Library for their superb stewardship of this lovely building. I debated whether to post this blog, however, because this quiet weekday afternoon, I got a whole room with a fireplace, comfy couch, and a view over the tree-shaded street all to myself. Selfishly, I didn’t want to share it with anyone else.

But now I have.