Facilities

From Department Store to Library in West Texas

Things are a-changing in San Angelo.

Workers last week toppled the brick walls on the first floor of the Hemphill Wells Building, opening the interior to the elements and giving a glimpse into what the new library will look like when completed more than a year from now.

"It's quite different to look at," said Library Director Larry Justiss. "That came down fast. There was just a skin left after the asbestos people got through. A good wind could have blown it over." The library's designs call for a ground floor enclosed entirely in glass, though it will be a few more months before those working inside get any relief from the winter weather.

Construction work, delayed by the discovery of asbestos in the abandoned department store, began in earnest last month and is expected to continue until spring 2010.

Vermont Library Moves into the Twentieth Century

What's important in a library? Sometimes, it's not only the books, DVDs and computers...

The Roxbury VT Library, a beloved small-town gathering place since 1923, had no restrooms. When nature called, patrons young and old either had to hold it, do their business next door at the Roxbury Union Congregational Church or go home.

Never mind that the library has such modern conveniences as wireless Internet access. "I used to say `We're the Wi-Fi library without a pot to p--- in,'" said library director Susan D'Amico.

No more: a toilet was finally installed last Friday. Huffington Post.

Liverpool Expansion

BBC News Online has a brief report about expansion of the library at the University of Liverpool.

Another Ghostly Library

...this one in Glendale, CA.

According to legend, the Brand Library in Glendale is haunted. The building -- (pictured in this LA Times Blog in a vintage postcard)-- was completed in 1904 as the home of developer Leslie Coombs Brand, who lived -- and, on April 10, 1925, died -- there. Twenty-one years later it became a library, as his will had stipulated.

But something wasn't right with Brand; according to legend, it's his ghost that haunts the premises. Stories are passed on of a voice saying, "Joe" (or "Go!"), of a shadowy male figure ascending the stairs, of a presence in the tower, of the feeling, when standing near his portrait, of being watched.

Deja Vu All Over Again as Rains Drench Hawaii

It was the third time in four years that the library has suffered during fall rains. "It seems like every year around this time," said Kyle Hamada, conservation librarian at the University of Hawaii's Hamilton Library.

About a year ago, Hamilton Library suffered about $500,000 worth of damage when thousands of books and rare documents were wrecked by heavy rain.

This time, says a report from the Honolulu Advertiser, the flooding was apparently caused by repair work debris that clogged drain pipes. The library continues to recover from damage caused in 2004 during flooding on Halloween.

NYPL Main Library to Get a Redo

Norman Foster, the eminent British architect who has made something of a specialty out of inserting contemporary designs into historic buildings, has been selected for a major renovation of the New York Public Library’s landmark 1911 main building, on Fifth Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets.

The firm, Foster & Partners will create a new circulation library in a space below the library’s Rose Reading Room and overlooking Bryant Park that now houses seven levels of stacks and a basement. “It’s the greatest project ever,” Mr. Foster said in a telephone interview on Wednesday. NYTimes reports.

The area, which now measures 1.25 million cubic feet, will be completely reconfigured, with new rooms for children and teenagers and numerous computer work stations. The stacks are to move to an existing three-acre storage area beneath Bryant Park that is also to be renovated. Work is expected to be completed by 2013.

From Old to New (with some old thrown in) In North Carolina

On the outside, the new Warren County (NC) Memorial Library on Warrenton's Front Street may look quiet, but inside, there is a rush of activity. That's because staff members and volunteers have been busy stocking shelves, setting up computer equipment and making sure everything is ready for the facility's grand opening on Saturday, Nov. 1.

"(Several) children and adults will bring their favorite book from the old library to the new library," Library Director Dr. Sue Loper said. "That will officially close the old library." Virginia North Carolina News has the story, and a photo of the library director along with a couple a good 'ol boys helping with the restoration of antique items from the old library.

Princeton's Gehry Library Banishes Stacks, Encourages Talking

Princeton University has embarked on a difficult task: to reinvent the library for an age when information largely takes on electronic rather than print form. The $74 million, 87,000-square-foot facility (Peter B. Lewis Science Library) was designed by architects Frank Gehry and Craig Webb of Gehry Partners. The stacks you'd expect to find in a building housing collections as varied as astrophysics, biology and statistics have largely been banished to a surprisingly small high-density storage space in the basement.

More from Bloomberg.com, and additional photos on this Princeton blog.

Montana School Library Gets Help From Its Friends At a Time of Need

Nearly 13 years ago on Christmas Eve, Malta High School Librarian Penny Lind learned that unfortunate lesson when the high school and junior high burned to the ground, destroying a collection that had built up over the decades. The community responded immediately. Boxes and boxes of new and used books poured in to help fill the shelves — even though the shelves moved from a closet in the Catholic school to a garage and finally to the new building.

So this fall when fire ripped through the Huntley Project school on Sept. 18, Lind called on the Malta community to again step up, this time to help their Montana neighbors. Lots of books and lots of kindnesses.

FL Supreme Court Begins Construction to Stop Damage

What substance does not mix well with books?

Water, and unfortunately, plenty of it has been seeping into the library of the Florida Supreme Court in Tallahassee for the last few years.

Now, safety fences are being built around the Florida Supreme Court Building as work begins to stop water seepage into the basement that destroyed more than 11,000 library books. By 2006, the water intrusion forced the library to discard 11,646 library books worth about $37,000 that had suffered enough damage that they no longer were usable. Court staff had to clear out areas of the basement, install dehumidifiers, and use water vacuum cleaners whenever there was a heavy rain.

Wonder if Katherine Harris was affected by the humidity there during her tenure as Secretary of State?

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