A Bit of a Mess in Dallas

Former President George W. Bush had his heart set on an expansive Presidential Library, but his requirements have been harder to achieve than he thought. No eminent domain for the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

A deal that was supposed to end a long-running lawsuit against SMU – and smooth the path for George W. Bush's presidential library – has fallen apart amid charges that both sides broke the terms of a confidential agreement. Report from the Dallas News.

Last month, Southern Methodist University and two former condominium owners announced that they had settled the bitter four-year fight over who is the rightful owner of land now slated for the grounds of the Bush library.

The lawsuit has become increasingly hard-fought since President George W. Bush left office in January and returned to Texas.

Earlier this year, Hoffman ruled that Bush would have to give a deposition in the case. The condo owners said they wanted a chance to ask Bush about meetings with SMU officials who discussed putting the library on the condo site before it owned the land; (the condos have since been demolished). An appellate court reversed Hoffman's order, and the condo owners appealed the matter to the Texas Supreme Court.

New Hampshire State Library Undergoing Major Renovation

Wind shook the windowpanes and water dripped from the skylights. Collapsing plaster ceilings forced employees to take shelter under tables, all in the finest building ever erected by the state of New Hampshire, its library. Recently work began to renovate the first state library in the nation, a pink-and-gray granite Italian Renaissance structure on Park Street. The effects of decades of deferred maintenance are slowly being erased.

The library is open to the public, but unlike city libraries, it's designed to serve researchers, not readers of popular novels. It holds the history of the state's Legislature and laws, the genealogies of countless New Hampshire families, more than 150 years of annual reports from every town.

According to the Concord Monitor, first-time visitors should come to view not its documents but the building's amazing architecture. The library's entrance is framed by columns of polished granite. Inside are massive fireplaces, swirling Sienna marble wainscoting the color of butterscotch, marble mosaic floors with multicolored decorative borders, a dedication plaque made by Tiffany Studios, magnificent plasterwork unaffordable today, fine antiques, gleaming brass light fixtures and a domed chamber that until 1970 held the state Supreme Court.

Renovation or Wreckage?

A library which underwent a £430,000 revamp has had to close after less than a week after cracks appeared in the building's ceiling.

The library in Euxton, Lancashire (UK), had reopened last Monday, but was forced to shut on Friday to enable essential repairs to take place.

Users have been told they can access services at other county libraries.

Julie Bell, from the Lancashire County Library and Information Service, said the closure was "regrettable". BBC reports.

Here's a press release announcing the improvements and re-opening before the cracks appeared.

NY's Donnell Library: Spartan Beauty or a Plain Old Beast?

Does the exterior of a library matter...or only what's inside?

This article from NY Times Real Estate section asks rhetorically, "IS the 1955 Donnell Library on Manhattan's West 53rd Street a rare piece of midcentury Modernism? Or an empty suit of expressionless masonry?"

As the vacant building heads toward demolition in two years, a cadre of preservationists still hope to convince the Landmarks Preservation Commission that the limestone facade is not a nothing, but a something.

The Donnell was not supposed to be there at all. As John D. Rockefeller Jr.’s Art Deco complex was nearing completion in the early 1930s, he had the idea of extending Rockefeller Plaza, from 49th to 51st Streets, by a block, or better yet two blocks, to the north. That way, the Museum of Modern Art, a favorite Rockefeller cause, would preside over the plaza at 53rd Street, which he found a particularly attractive vision.

Now the Donnell is scheduled to be demolished to make way for a hotel with the library on the first floor.

Après Le Deluge...

Louisville's isn't the only public library recovering from flood conditions.

A sprinkler system test went bad Friday in the city of Fort Lauderdale's main Library, causing extensive damage to the downtown facility. Crews over the weekend used dehumidifiers and fans to clean the place up.

Unlike Louisville's mess though, library officials say only two comic books were damaged. Wow, lucky.

The building reopened today reports the Sun-Sentinal and the Miami Herald.

Louisville Main Library Makes Temporary Move

The flood-ravaged Main Library remained without power Friday as staff prepared to move offices to the nearby Heyburn Building.

Owners of the high-rise offices a half-block from the Main Library have agreed to provide temporary space for free on the 13th floor, Louisville Free Public Library Director Craig Buthod said.

The Main Library, located at Third and York streets, won't reopen until at least Labor Day, with full operation not likely to resume until around year's end. Story from the Courier-Journal.

Is This the Bookstore of Tomorrow?

Novelist Moriah Jovan has come up with a plan for a bookstore without books.

From Media Bistro's Galley Cat, Ron Hogan writes:

"You want a book you can hold in your hands," Jovan fantasizes. "You go to Quaint Bookstore and they do not have what you want in their meager stock. NO PROBLEM! You sit down at one of the book stations. You browse the computer catalog (probably Ingram or Baker & Taylor). You pick your book. You punch in your credit card number (tied to the store's point-of-sale system). The order goes directly to one of the Espresso (print-on-demand) machines behind you. You wait 10 or 15 minutes (by which time you've probably already ordered another 3 books), and out pops your book. You are GOOD TO GO."

Jovan's dream store also allows customers to test drive e-book readers, and maybe even keeps a few old-timey books around on a second floor, for those booksellers who aren't ready to let go completely. So what do you think? Is this where bookstores are headed? Is it where they should be headed?

Is a library without books next?

Update from Louisville

Louisville Public Library flood update here.

Skeletal Remains Removed from Library Construction Site

An archaeological survey being conducted at the site of a proposed addition to the Peoria (IL) Public Library uncovered the remains of nine individuals. The site, intended as space for a 12,000 square foot addition, was a public cemetery from 1842-1875.

Because of a law that requires living relatives to be identified and contacted so that they can authorize removal and reburial of remains, the library has had to alter their construction plans. More information is available at the Peoria Journal Star.

A Solar Powered Library in Taipei

Taiwan has begun construction on a solar-powered library in the Taiwanese capital of Taipei and could benefit from new incentives designed to offer solar energy providers above-market prices for the energy they generate. Rooftop solar panels will provide electricity to the two-story building. Library users will also be able to enter the building and return and borrow books on a 24-hour basis using Easy Cards, a smartcard system used primarily to pay fares on Taipei's public transport system. Construction started last week and is expected to be finished by June 2010.


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