Lingering in the Library Labrynth

Natalie Waddington

Libraries offer great perks for a community. They are places of knowledge, imagination, refuge, and wonder. The escape from the rest of the world that libraries provide is second to none. As a writer, I enjoy nothing more than the ability to go to a place where I can put in my headphones and drown out my surroundings while I write a piece for school or the magazine. And as time goes on, authors write new books, more students find themselves at the tables in the library, but the need for the library remains the same. 

Here in Bozeman, our public library is no different. But, among the new additions to its shelves has come an even greater addition—the library labyrinth. With the grand opening this past June, the labyrinth has certainly created quite a reputation for itself. The labyrinth is a winding maze behind the main building offering beautiful pathways and places to wander and enjoy the outdoors. The Bozeman Public Library received nearly $80,000 in donations to complete this winding, stone structure in honor of David Kingman’s wife. David Kingman is a well-known home builder from Minnesota who moved to Bozeman to be with his son after his late wife, Rocel Kingman, passed away. During her fight with cancer, Rocel Kingman found peace and comfort in labyrinths. So, her husband found the grounds behind the public library to be the perfect place to commemorate his wife and build a new labyrinth for all around to enjoy. Originally pitched in 2016, the labyrinth has finally come to fruition in 2019. 

Since the labryinth’s opening in June, many people have come to appreciate this new addition to the public. One local Bozemanite I met in the labyrinth said, “I love this place. It gives me a place to escape and think. I feel content and at peace here.” There is no better way to put it. I was fortunate enough to have a chance to check it out this summer, and I never felt so peaceful. It is a beautiful, unique place to admire the nature surrounding the area between the library and Peet’s Hill. But the best part was the structure itself. The stone is stunning and seems fairly archaic in a way. With all of the new, modern buildings going up around Bozeman, it was nice to see such beautiful and ancient architecture here in town. It was nice to wander the pathways with nothing but some bird chirps and my thoughts to keep me company. This may seem cliché, but trust me when I say it is certainly an experience worth having. 

So, with the school year starting back up and life getting busier, I highly recommend checking out this new place. It is a way to take a deep breath and appreciate the world around you. Not too mention, the way this project was started was so sweet that I think we can all take a little time out of our busy schedules to appreciate this man’s love for his wife and dedication to her memory. With all of the great places to go in Bozeman, I would put this near the top of the list, and I hope more people get a chance to enjoy this mesmerizing structure in the Bozeman Public Library’s backyard.  

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