Significant Damage from Underground LX Explosion at the Morristown & Township Library

New Jersey.com reports on the underground blast at the library that buckled concrete, shattered windows and blew out doors last evening.

The library was quickly evacuated by staff and no one was injured.
Jersey Central Power & Light has acknowledged a malfunction called a "cable fault" occurred beneath a manhole on Miller Road, near the library's 1917 wing that sustained heavy damage. But spokesman Ron Morano said this damage "was not consistent with what one sees in a cable fault."

He declined to elaborate. But he said the utility plans to tap outside experts for help with its investigation, which so far has been slowed because crews have not been allowed inside the library.

Susan Gulick, director of The Morristown and Morris Township Library, describes the severe damage to the library wing that dates back to 1917 which was caused by yesterday's underground electrical explosion. She said the basement and ground floor sustained significant structural damage; the front doors were blown off and walls and floors buckled. The brunt of Monday's blast hit the "Friends Room," beneath the 1917 wing of the library. It's where volunteers from the Friends of the Library store old books for sale. Additional updates on the blast here.

Fabulous New Rolex Learning Center in Lausanne Switzerland Opens

Learned about the February 22 opening of the new "EPFL" Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne here in Book Patrol, and researched further to find the website, here.

Light is brought in through the Swiss-cheese holes in the roof, and the pristine whiteness of the concrete surfaces creates a snowy plane, airy, bright, and infinite. The result is a communal space without fixed function. A softly curvy, feminine expanse without hierarchies or straight lines. A series of calm and silent connected spaces created to nurture collaboration, communication, and cooperation over competition. Library, offices, restaurants, and auditoriums are harmoniously linked between a cloud-like canopy above, and a floor that gently rises and falls like a living organism as it inhales and exhales. "Human movements are not linear like in a train, but curve in a more organic way," said architect Ryue Nishizawa, one-half of the Japanese architectural team SANAA, explaining his vision. "With straight lines we only create crossroads, but with curves we can create more diverse interactions."

The Whooping Librarian

D. C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and Chief Librarian Ginny Cooper (formerly director of the Brooklyn Public Library) were "whooping" it up Monday to celebrate the opening of the new Northwest One branch library at First and New Jersey Avenue NW.

Cooper literally began "whooping" as she and the mayor cut the ribbon. Startled and amused, the mayor asked that Cooper warn him the next time she's going to do that.

It was a light, funny moment for Fenty and Cooper who are spending $250 million to renovate 17 library facilities in the city.

The new library is in a community that's seeing a lot of gentrification. Old public housing buildings are being torn down, with promises of new and modern places for people to live. NBC Washington.

DON'T Call It a Library

Can we call it a fortress?

First artists sketches of the future George W. Bush Presidential Center at SMU from Talking Points Memo. Seven renderings are shown.

New Thompson Library A 'Taj Mahal' at OSU

William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library at Ohio State University is now open, and columnist Joe Blundo in the Columbus Dispatch calls it 'a Taj Mahal of a library' (as it should be at the cost of $108.7 million). ...pictures!

The place has everything: reading material, curios, terrific views and coffee. The Thompson library was built in 1913, enlarged several times and desecrated in 1965. That's when its Grand Reading Room -- a magnificent, arched space -- was divided horizontally to add a second floor.

Well, the room has been restored to its arched glory. It feels important and scholarly: When I walked in, the place was packed with students but so silent I could hear pages turning.

The building also has an 11th-floor reading room, where I would have curled up with a good book in front of a window had a seat been available. The room is a reader's aerie, with commanding views of campus and beyond.

I've heard it said that modern libraries too often de-emphasize books in favor of electronic material. Not so this place, at least visually. Thanks to glass walls, you can stand in its atrium, look up and see stacks of books rising floor after floor above you.

Judge Recuses Self from SMU Bush Library Condo Owners Suit

By LORI STAHL / The Dallas Morning News reports that the judge who has presided over a high-profile lawsuit against Southern Methodist University for years, State District Judge Martin Hoffman, has suddenly withdrawn from the case, bringing a temporary halt to all proceedings. The reason was not clear from a motion he filed with the court (but if you read his bio, you might suppose that he decided he could not be impartial in this case).

But the implications for the case itself – which has indirect ramifications for the George W. Bush Presidential Library at SMU – were fairly obvious: It no longer seems to be on the verge of ending.

Two months ago, SMU and the two former condominium owners who filed the lawsuit in 2005 announced that they had settled the case. Although the terms were not made public, it was clear that the condo owners agreed to back off their claim to land in exchange for some kind of payment. But within weeks, the terms of the settlement agreement were in dispute. Hoffman was set to issue a ruling on the settlement agreement when he recused himself.

Indianapolis Library Takes Its Suit to the IN Supreme Court

INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Supreme Court will decide whether engineering subcontractors should be held liable for millions of dollars in cost overruns in a recent renovation of Indianapolis' central public library.

The court will hear oral arguments in the $25 million lawsuit Sept. 15.
Chicago Tribune reports.

Vandals Smash Decorative Fountain at Urbana Library

Vandals destroyed a fountain at Frederick, MD's Urbana Regional Library Friday evening. A longtime Urbana family had donated the fountain to the reading garden before moving away.

At about 9:45 a.m. Saturday, a librarian discovered the three ceramic pots that made up the fountain were smashed open, said Cpl. Jennifer Bailey, a spokeswoman for the Frederick County Sheriff's Office.

Bailey said the damage to the fountain was less than $500. But the emotional damage is more severe, said Elizabeth Cromwell, the Frederick County Public Libraries' spokeswoman. Story from the Gazette.

Upstate NY Library Working Off the Grid

PERU NY-- Here comes the sun has a new meaning for the Peru Free Library.

With 49 solar panels installed on the southernmost roof, the library will soon generate its own power.

Librarian Rebecca Pace received a New York State Library Construction Grant, which paid not only for the solar panels and their installation but also a new roof, walkway and gas furnace.

She tailored the library's needs to a portion of the grant that focused on saving energy and accessibility.

"Our sidewalk was falling apart," Pace said. "We needed a new furnace as well. Natural gas was coming into the area, and we decided that would be more energy efficient not having to buy all that oil."

Trash Tagging for Science at the Seattle Public Library

If you drive by Fourth Avenue and Spring Street on Wednesday, you might want to plug your nose: Seattle's Central Public Library is getting trashed for science. And you can help says the Seattle PI blog.

"They absolutely love this building," librarian Andra Addison said of the Boston researchers who will tag 50 pieces of trash with GPS transmitters there Wednesday.

The researchers, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology SENSEable City Lab, are inviting Seattle residents to bring a piece of something to throw away -- be it in the trash or the recycling bin ("try to be original," reads the invite) -- from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.


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