Facilities

The Aesthetics of Libraries

There is a lot of talk of the threat that digital services like Amazon bring to the library industry in general (as this site's sub-title so slyly indicates). But one thing Amazon and online libraries in general cannot do is replicate the feel and aesthetics of a library (especially some of the big ones ).

I’m curious if there has been any push or attempt to market these aspects of libraries say in the tourist industry, in the same way that hard core baseball fans will visit all the great ballparks and general tourists love to visit cathedrals for the architecture.

Eight Amazing Libraries and One That's Horrible

From Spot Cool Stuff:

There’s a case to be made for libraries having more interesting architecture than any other building type except for religious houses of worship.

Here’s our look at eight architecturally amazing libraries (and one that’s not so much). It is the first in a series of Spot Cool Stuff’s tour of the world’s best looking libraries. To stay updated on all of our posts, including our cool library series, follow us on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS feed or check back with our newly opened Book and Literature Travel category page.

And if you know of a library you’d like us to check out leave us a comment any time. Late fees never apply.

Librarian's Efforts Bear Fruit

Story from Oak Ridge, LA:

She noticed the vine growing outside the Oak Ridge Branch of the Morehouse Parish Library this summer but never really gave it much thought. Just the same, Carolyn Files watered what she felt was a watermelon vine throughout the drought of this summer.

Files noticed a tiny watermelon growing amidst the flowers late last week. Arriving at work Monday morning, she was pleasantly surprised to see it was flourishing. Files said she and an employee of the village of Mer Rouge monitored the vine’s progress during the summer, never expecting it to produce fruit.

Library Recovery News

Further to our previous story on the Wells Library in Upper Jay, NY, some good news, and some additional calls for help from the libraries in NY and Vermont (mostly) that sustained damage from Hurricane Irene. Included are addresses to send funds.

Beautiful Library Facilities

Fourteen fantastic modern Libraries from Web Urbanist. Don't get too jealous now.

Here's one in Copenhagen, Denmark

SHL Architects gave Copenhagen an incredible new landmark with the Black Diamond extension to the historic Royal Danish Library. This monolithic design is surprisingly airy and open on the inside, encouraging not just the study of books but also the exploration of new types of media. “We are drawn to these projects for their potential to engage the public and not only to give cultural and social life to their cities and towns but also for their ability to work as a accelerator for learning and knowledge,” says Bjarne Hammer, an SHL founding partner.

Check all fourteen out at Web Urbanist.

Earthquake Shakes Up the East Coast

Did you feel it? Any books fall off the shelves? A 5.9-Magnitude (corrected to 5.8) earthquake struck the Eastern US shortly before 2:00 pm EST, centered in Virginia, but it was felt from the Carolinas to Toronto. Lots of libraries and other buildings were evacuated (some on Wall Street in NYC); here's a story from Spartanburg County, SC:

Spartanburg County Emergency Management Coordinator Doug Bryson was attending a state emergency managers’ meeting in Columbia discussing Hurricane Irene when the room began shaking. “It was a weird feeling,” Bryson said. “The floor and chairs were all shaking. Apparently, it’s affected the whole East Coast.” Bryson said he began getting calls about the quake but had not heard of any damage so far in Spartanburg County. The quake shook the shelves at the Spartanburg County Headquarters Library, which was briefly evacuated.

More reports from Patchogue NY, the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg VA, and the Nation's Capital, where the Library of Congress was evacuated.

Happy First Anniversary to Walnut Creek Library, an Energy Efficiency Winner

Who doesn't love a classic Carnegie Library, but on the other hand, there are advantages to being in a new building.

From San Jose Mercury News: The downtown Walnut Creek Library, which opened a year ago, was recently awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design "gold" status. Known as LEED, this internationally recognized green building certification system developed by the U.S. -- Read More

One-Time Prison Renovated As Library

Former Georgia Jail becomes a library...great repurposing!

While strains of "Jailhouse Rock" played on a boom box outside, the Morgan County Library threw open the doors of the old detention center Sunday afternoon in an effort to nab new patrons and encourage current card holders to return.

Library workers and a host of volunteers, including Friends of the Morgan County Library and library board members, were on guard in the afternoon during an open house of the library's new, but temporary, home. During the two-hour event, traffic was steady as residents visited the facility on Athens Highway, which, until a year ago, was the site of the county jail. Library board members gave tours of the site while refreshments were served as well as new book titles and library cards.

Ferndale Library Director Moves On...Damply

FERNDALE, MI – City Public Library Director Doug Raber is the latest top official to leave the city for another job. This is library that we reported had to be closed due to flooding from a faulty water recycling system this past fall.

Raber, 60, is leaving to take a job as director at the Marion Public Library in Marion, Iowa.

“Doug Raber has resigned as director of the Ferndale Public Library effective Feb. 25, 2011,” the statement reads. “While he enjoyed working with the staff, board and patrons of the library, and the Ferndale community, Doug and his wife Jessica are moving on to a new career and academic challenges outside of Michigan.”

Raber was hired nearly three years ago at an $80,000 salary as the library was about to undergo a $4.5 million expansion and upgrade. The revamped library, which was nearly doubled in size to about 21,000 square feet, opened in August.

However, a hose connection failed on a new rainwater treatment over the Thanksgiving weekend and flooded the library with about 15,000 gallons of water. Library officials expect the facility to reopen next month.

Meanwhile, Back in Brisbane...

IT News reports: When flood waters threatened to breach the banks of the Brisbane River last Wednesday, the State Library of Queensland looked to be one of its first casualties. Fortunately for the library and Queensland's bookworms, management had a well-developed disaster recovery plan that went beyond simple data backup and that included all the minutiae of surviving catastrophe so that librarians didn't have to make it up as they went along.

As the water started flowing into the basement levels, the library's client services director Rory McLeod and staff swung into action.

"It was about following basic disaster procedures," McLeod said.

"Once we knew water encroached into the basements we knew there was a chance that we would lose power so it was about getting [backup power] checked and online and taking down essential systems as quickly as we could."

The library systems were replicated and a library principle is "lots of copies keeps stuff safe - so it's quite easy for us to point people at different servers at other state libraries", he said. The collections were safe and systems were being brought back online as staff returned.

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