Opened in 2011, the Orange branch of the Delaware County District Library is definitely a library for today: It's more of a lively gathering place for all ages, than the silent sanctuaries of old.

Opened in 2011, the Orange branch of the Delaware County District Library is definitely a library for today: It's more of a lively gathering place for all ages, than the silent sanctuaries of old. And some of that is simply due to the open architecture and floor plan of this beautiful building (which offers great views of the outdoors): Sound simply carries well throughout the place.

There is a sound-insulated quiet room on the far end of the library, but most of the space there feels very connected to everything that is going on.

And without a doubt, what's going on in the children's area is a big part of this library's daily activities. The story times and programming for youth, teens and families are a popular draw, but just about any morning and post-nap afternoon time will find the children's area filled with kids playing, reading and having a marvelous time.

A large meeting space is adjacent to the children's area; many moms use its relative privacy to nurse or simply sit and keep an eye on the kids playing (which is not discouraged at all by the staff). Two family bathrooms are situated there as well (though be forewarned: the toilets are those turbo-charged, auto-flush ones that can scare the hoo-ha out of adults as well as small children).

There is a teen area strategically situated on the opposite end of the building. Comfy seating exists throughout the library and there's a cozy fireplace ensconced inside a glass wall near the quiet room.

The front lobby has table and high-top seating, plus a few vending machines, another community meeting room and unisex, handicapped accessible bathrooms. Be alert in the parking lot: Its serpentine layout means you better drive very slowly and be on the lookout for speedy little escape artists.