Today I discovered a Sacramento treasure for the first time: The McClatchy Library.

The Academy Award-nominated movie Lady Bird delighted Sacramentans by showing many of the landmarks of California’s capital city, and visitors now tour the spots featured in the movie. Here’s one more site that belongs on a must-see list for anyone looking for local spots to visit: the Ella K. McClatchy Library

I stumbled across this historical jewel box by accident. Early for an appointment, I was hunting for a library where I could kill some time comfortably. Libraries are perfect for this because they are free, offer water fountains and restrooms and, best of all, have rooms full of books.

The building was older than I expected, as my eyes were caught by a historical marker near the entrance. 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 later donated their home to be used as a library in memory of their mother.

As a former newspaper reporter and fan of the Sacramento Bee, I was intrigued.

Moments later I found myself inside a charming house lovingly turned into a public library, without losing an ounce of the warmth and welcoming feeling of the family home it once was. Now the dining room, living room, and other rooms are lined with bookcases full of mystery novels, children’s books, magazines and more.

A landing halfway up the wooden staircase glowed with colored light passing through a stained glass window above green-cushioned window seats. Former bedrooms upstairs have been turned into reading rooms, still  furnished with the house’s original sofas, armchairs and rugs. The message is to come in, sit down, and stay a while.

Despite my ignorance, the library has not spent all these years unknown to the public. The Sacramento Historical Society and the Newton Booth Neighborhoods Association honored the Friends of the McClatchy Library for their superb stewardship of this lovely building.

I actually debated whether to post this blog, however, because one of the charms of the library is that it is relatively undiscovered. On this weekday afternoon, I got a whole room to myself, with a fireplace, comfy couch, and a view over the tree-shaded street. I loved not having to share it with anyone else.

But if more people stumble across it, I just might have to.