Multnomah County Library didn't make it onto this list, but Seattle Public Library Central Branch did.
"Throughout American history, the desire for libraries has inspired cities, architects and robber barons to build, not just boxes for books, but secular temples to the worship of words. Here are America's 10 coolest, from old school Beaux-Arts beauties to the airy halls of contemporary architecture." Check out America's 10 Coolest Public Libraries
Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Mo.
While the Kansas City Public Library is itself a worthy institution, it's the library car park next door that is truly cool. It looks like a giant bookshelf.
The people of Kansas City were asked to nominate books they felt represented the city. Then enormous versions of the spines of those great books -- "Romeo and Juliet," "Catch-22," "Lord of the Rings" and "Charlotte's Web" -- were used to create the exterior of the library car park. The wall is as eclectic in its tastes as the residents of the city.