I recently came across this slide show on Slate, titled “How do you build a public library in the age of Google?” It’s an interesting tour of current library architecture, and the different ways cities are trying to adapt libraries into popular public spaces. What do you think? Do you have a favorite public library? How does the building design play into your appreciation? I know I prefer smaller libraries, and sometimes I find some modern architecture a little too sterile for my taste. In any event, I still plan on checking out books for a long time to come!
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I saw that slideshow too. It was fun stuff to think about. I’m hoping to attend the Association of College and Research Libraries’ next conference, which is in March of 2009 in Seattle, and I’d like to see the Seattle Public Library while I’m there. It’s supposed to be really interesting, though I agree with Emily that modern architecture can be too sterile sometimes. But that library gets a lot of press, and I’m curious to see what it looks and feels like inside.
I was in Chicago for a weekend in the fall and got to see what they’ve done with the old Chicago Public Library building — it’s been repurposed as a community center type of place. It had a cafe, meeting rooms, exhibit/gallery space, a small theater for film screenings, gift shop, etc. Which seemed like a cool use of the great old building, but it also seemed a shame to me that it was no longer a library. I do like that Chicago’s new library building held on to a lot of the architectural traditions of 19th century Chicago.