Archives for posts with tag: architecture

From Gizmodo:

Gone is the frustration of not finding the book that the system swears is exactly where you are looking. Gone is the having to sneak through dark corners of stacks and walk all over the library to find a single tome. However, also gone are the serendipitous encounters with texts surrounding the one you were looking for, guiding your research and interests in new directions.
Which is a shame, for sure. But even then, maybe you can still make your way to that fortuitous find but in a whole new way. And without that librarian glowering at you. [University of Chicago Libraries via Geekosystem, Big Think]

OK, let’s put aside the regressive librarian stereotyping and look at what they’re showing us. It seems like a pretty complex and expensive solution. When it breaks, how catastrophic is it to services? I don’t know if this is something will necessarily take off except as a show piece.

I’d say it’s a little analogous to the infamous Zip drive. The Zip drive was an OK innovation that ended up being a huge waste of money for people who bought one and then immediately had to abandon them for the CD-R/W drives – which were way more flexible for data storage.  I think elaborate robot libraries will probably lose out to eLibraries made up mostly of eBooks, online journals, etc. The tipping point will be when when eReaders improve in flexibility, quality and price (as they will, inevitably).

Also, it is easy to say this sort of set up would render librarians obsolete. But really, it’ll be the clerks and pages who would be replaced – likely by a crew of oil stained, retro-engineer types (like below) . Think about it, the look of the thing reminds me of Babbage’s Difference Engine. In such a case, steampunk fans would be happy.

Egyptian Muesum Protected by Army Egypt’s been in the streets for a week now (and it’s clearly getting crazier). With the Egyptian Museum threatened and under the army’s protection, what about another valuable (albeit, less famous) cultural and knowledge centre: the reduxed Library of Alexandia.
Good news:

The library is safe thanks to Egypt’s youth, whether they be the staff of the Library or the representatives of the demonstrators, who are joining us in guarding the building from potential vandals and looters. I am there daily within the bounds of the curfew hours. However, the Library will be closed to the public for the next few days until the curfew is lifted and events unfold towards an end to the lawlessness and a move towards the resolution of the political issues that triggered the demonstrations.[from the BA’s site]

They’ve posted a photo gallery of citizens and librarians banding together to protect the building.

History shows that times of upheaval are not particularly kind to libraries and museums.

I have my fingers crossed that the outcome will be different this time. Here’s to speedy, safe(r), and democratic peace in Egypt.

room! in the ceiling!

The good Jessamyn West at has compiled a list of the random, secretish places in libraries she’s been shown:

It’s great when the evolution of a building space is cracked open. Particularly when it’s something a little esoteric seeming, like a library.

A long time ago, I wrote an article about exploring the abandoned(ish) passageways beneath Wilfrid Laurier University. I went under the library building, just a little.

More dedicated urban explorers, though, reveal some more amazing stuff: c.f. Cool Pics of an Abandoned Russian Library

Name of the Rose Library!

In past posts, I’ve alluded to the fact that I have a new job (in a LIBRARY!). It’s at CISTI, and I’m working as a Meta-Data Librarian. It’s proving pretty interesting, so far.

I know I complained about how hard it is to get a library job with the Feds in Canada, and I stand by that. I’m on a temp contract, and that means… well… it means I’m a temp. That’s pejorative. I like to think of myself as a Librarian Mercenary (hence the Ronin thing). A notion made especially dramatic by the fact that I was ushered in to help redeem a floundering database!

On a fun note: back in library school, I did a presentation on library architecture and themes of authority and power. Basically, it was about libraries as literal and metaphorical fortresses (like the library in Name of the Rose, which was modeled, in fact, on University of Toronto’s Robarts Library.).

CISTI’s building holds true with some of these traditional architectural themes, especially when seen during the day.

CISTI during the day

But! See it at night… Yep! Starship CISTI!

CISTI at night!