British Architect Chosen to Design Two New DC Libraries

David Adjaye has won a competition to design two libraries in the heart of Washington DC. His practice was chosen ahead of 17 rivals to design modern replacements for the Washington Highlands library and Francis A Gregory library in the US capital. Each library will have a budget of approximately $9.5m (£5.3m)

The Tanzanian-born designer's concept was modeled after libraries built in the UK, called "Idea Stores", built in what is considered rough neighborhoods. They have a "retail look" to them, and from the outside, they look like they should be selling iPods or designer shoes, rather than housing books, short-term day care, aerobics facilities and Internet access. DC Library Director Ginnie Cooper thinks they will be successful in the Nation's Capital as well. Reports from Buildings UK and The Washington Post.

Interview with John Augelli, Executive Director of the Rosenberg Library, Galveston, TX

After Hurricane Ike slammed Galveston, TX, September 13, there was little immediate word regarding the Rosenberg Library (web site inoperative), the 75,000 square foot complex downtown that houses a library, archives, and museum and serves as the headquarters for the Galveston County Library System. Now, John Augelli, the library’s executive director, tells LJ that he and two other staffers stayed behind "thinking it would be good to be there, to see what I could do." Initially, that wasn't much. Instead, they listened, and watched, as a storm surge wiped out the first floor with over six feet of water. "It was a sound that you’d never forget."

Now, the library is at the beginning of a long recovery that began with pumping out the water, emptying the first floor of what used to be the children's collection, and drying out the space to ensure that humidity does not damage valuable archival material. The library still lacks phone and web service. When that is restored, the library will post information on how to help. For nearly a week, residents like Augelli didn’t even have cell phone service, relying instead on text messages.

"I have devoted every minute and all my energy to the recovery process," Augelli told LJ in a phone interview today.

See full story here.

Condemed Utah Site To Become Library

Darrell Kilpack has been collecting rusty old stuff for a long time. He wanted to build a Western theme park on the property near 2700 South and 8900 West, Magna UT, planning to use old materials to give visitors a look into the past. ''This would be a heck of a facility,'' Kilpack said.

But Salt Lake County officials didn't have the same vision. The county condemned Kilpack's property after he refused to negotiate a sale and paid to have the piles of old tires, broken machine parts and frayed industrial gloves removed. About 70 percent of the material was in condition to be recycled, said Bruce Gibson, owner of the franchise that removed the refuse. "A lot of this has to be done by hand,'' Gibson said. ''There was just an amazing amount of hoarding being done.''

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the proposed library is scheduled to open by spring 2010. It will include a plaza and has been designed to fit the county's plan to revitalize Magna's Main Street.

A Brand New Library in Arizona, and Ahead of Schedule Too

It's Avondale's $6.2 million Old Town Library (pdf) and it opens on September 15th. Detroit-based SmithGroup designed and Tempe-based Sundt Construction built the state-of-the-art library.

"In addition to incorporating green and energy-efficient aspects into the building, the architecture makes good use of natural light to create an inviting atmosphere inside the library," said Dan Davis, Avondale's parks, recreation and libraries director. AZ Central reports.

Portland OR Library to Get an Ecoroof

What's an ecoroof you ask?

It's a vegetated rooftop achieved through planting carefully selected vegetation in specially designed soil layered over drainage material, all atop a conventional roofing membrane. It costs more than a traditional roof, but has many other benefits...triples roof life, reduces runoff, saves energy, absorbs carbon dioxide, gives off oxygen, etc. etc.

And it's going up atop Portland's Central Library. Tours of the library’s new roof may be offered to the public once the project is completed, said John Cabrera, a spokesman for the library.

Watching a Library Grow in Colorado

The construction of a new southeast branch library in Fort Collins is like an open book, or at least an open website. The public has been involved from the onset on the project, is considered to be the 'general contractor' and is encouraged to keep up with the progress of construction.

Library to be 'Cool' Again

No, not this kind of cool...

Congratulations to the Rawlins Municipal Library in Pierre SD on getting its A.C. back...can you imagine weeks of summer heat without air conditioning?

Resiliency And Redundancy Underscored

CNN, among others, reports that an earthquake ranging 5.6-5.8 hit in Chino Hills outside Los Angeles. It will be days before a final magnitude score for the earthquake is settled upon. The report by MSNBC notes that location is key to whether damage occurs.

Much of this brings up a point we don't think about in librarianship too much. If we rely on a remote server that gets hit by a natural disaster, what do we do? Do we have local backups? Is there something we can fail over to?

A prime example of a problem is Twitter. The majority of Twitter's servers are located in one of the most geologically active areas of North America. If an earthquake hit, Twitter would be probably toast without a backup outside San Francisco.

Great centralization may be great for cognitive processing but it is so vulnerable. During the Cold War it was found that a way to disrupt the Soviet side was to blow up a factory. Typically all production was centered in a single factory. If you hit the shoe factory, there might not be shoes for a while. If you hit the radio factory, folks might have to turn to smugglers from Western Europe to bring in Telefunken devices and other such things.

While there are Web 2.0 sites with great promise, the biggest worry is excessive centralization. If a site goes down, what do you do? If you had important documents saved only to GoogleDocs, what do you do when it goes away? The recent Amazon S3 outage showed just how fragile cloud computing is as it requires a near-perfect world without disruption in which to operate effectively.

There are some moves afoot for decentralization. The PGP web of trust is one great example of decentralizing a backbone to a public-key encryption system. identi.ca is based off a program licensed under the GNU Affero General Public License. The underlying software, known as Laconica, allows for decentralized microblogging across multiple servers. A major step forward in creating resilience is decentralization.

When the one big server blows up, where will you go for your data? -- Read More

Going Going Gone...Public Library Goes to University at Auction

If you've ever wanted to own a library, you might just have missed your chance.

Lexington's Northside public library branch building was auctioned off at 11 am today and sold to the University of Kentucky for $1.2 million, just the amount is was appraised at last year.

Starbucks to Close 600 Locations

Jason Calacanis, CEO of Mahalo, noted in his Twitter post earlier that it appears that Starbucks is closing 600 stores. For libraries pondering whether or not it is best to have a coffee shop in the mix, this brings up a point of business economics we rarely have to encounter. Coverage by Mahalo's team of the stories relative to the event can be found online at Mahalo.

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