Did you know that you can take a special behind the scenes tour of St Paul's Cathedral, in which you visit its triforium area? After being whisked like a VIP through a locked door in the staircase that ascends the main dome, you will enter the triforium - an arched gallery that stands above the nave. This area includes a number of interesting sights not normally accessible to the public, including St Paul's Library, the Geometric Staircase and Wren's Great Model.
It was only a couple of days ago that I was posting about physical books being added to hotels and today I read about a public library that will have no physical books on it’s non-existent shelves…nada, nil, none!
The Bexar County Library System in Texas, which includes the city of San Antonio, has just authorized a project to create the first paperless public library system in the United States. That’s right paperless! The BiblioTech project (why didn’t they just call it iLibrary) is to be launched this fall with the opening of their first branch on the south side of San Antonio at a cost of $1.5 million bucks.
As the picture here shows, the resemblance is quite similar to an Apple store and according to the news release will allow its patrons access to 10,000 titles. The building will also include study and meeting rooms, as well as take home e-readers.
I’m confused on whether this is a total county-wide effort or not. In one article it led me to believe that it was system wide, but in another it said that it would be an enhancement. Whatever it is, it is certainly unique!
Of course the checking out of e-readers and e-books is nothing new, as my own public library does that, but to have no paper copies of books seems like lunacy. Well at least to me! Besides the fact that not all publishers allow libraries to purchase their e-books, there is the matter of educating the public on reading electronically. It takes a lot more staff to teach someone how to operate technology than it does to just peruse a shelf and pick out something interesting to read. Heck at our library it’s hard to get the public to even use the automatic check out machines, they would rather wait in a long line than learn how to do it themselves. It will be very interesting to continue following this story and to see what the patrons of the Bexar County Library system think about it!
What do you think?
There’s a great little video on the My San Antonio website about the new paperless library if you’d like to take a look.
Today I read an article in USA Today that was very encouraging indeed! Hotels seem to becoming hip, like us book worms have always been, and adding libraries to their properties. Like this new library room in the Capitol Hill Hotel in Washington, D.C.
This is nothing new of course and libraries have been included in some hotels for many years, or at least many years ago, but recently hotels have turned their backs on the written word. They have instead been more interested in configuring room in the common areas for internet usage. The book was more of a decorative item, something glued in place along with other nick nacks on shelves in their lobbies. I know this because I have sometimes tried to read one of these decorative pieces and been shocked, appalled, and yes embarrassed, when I placed my dainty digits on the spine and found resistance where there should have been none!
There has always been one exception to this rule and that is Country Inns & Suites, a clean, moderate hotel chain, that has always had a small lending library in their small, but inviting lobbies.
They have a variety of titles, that must be published just for them, which they ‘lend’ out. If you don’t finish the book while you are there, then you can take it with you, and if you stop by one of their hotels another time you can return it then. I have to admit I still have two titles currently on my bookshelves…sorry Country Inns & Suites…I will return them next time!
There is also The Library Hotel in NYC, which I have never seen, but have always dreamed of staying at one day. It’s a bit pricy though, so maybe I can just sneak in and just take a look at the lobby. It looks pretty cool!
If you get a chance read the article, it has a list of some of the hotel properties that are finally figuring out that books aren’t just for decorating anymore!
When I was a little kid I LOVED bookmobile day. It didn’t come around nearly enough for me (probably once a month), which is probably why I was shaking with anticipation while I was waiting for the truck to pull into the church parking lot by our house. I can still remember holding my mom’s hand while I struggled to climb those ginormous steps up into that sweet smelling book Shangri-La. It was heaven, and usually hot and crowded too because of course there were quite a few of us practically wetting our pants with excitement!
The librarian, would let each of us check out 5 books. I would carefully pick out my selections, then take them to where she sat on a wooden stool next to a small countertop and wait while she stamped the due date cards one by one and placed them in my books. When I got a bit older our small town finally got a tiny library and then we were no longer on the bookmobile route. It was a good thing, but I sure missed the mobile library a lot!
The Biblioburro in La Gloria, Columbia serves that same function, and watching this video shows me that these children are just as excited to see their mobile library as I was to see mine!
It is truly inspiring to see what grade school teacher Luis Soriano has done to spread the joy of reading among his neighbors!
The little M.N. Spear Memorial Library in Shutesbury, Massachusetts came up with a creative way to earn funds for a new library….YouTube!
The state of Massachusetts said they would come up with 60% of the cost of a new building if the town could prove they could raise the other 40% by the end of June. But this town of avid readers was finding that 40% of $3.5 million dollars is a lot of money, so they got a little creative and made a video which has gone viral on YouTube.
According to a Tuesday post on their Facebook page, they’ve raised over $220,000!
Congratulations to them!
Check out their Tumblr here: http://mnspearlibrary.tumblr.com/
- Tiny library raises money with tiny uke and awesome video (boingboing.net)
- Small Town Library Reads Between the Lines in Online Fundraising (fundly.com)
I had a chance to visit the library again today and this time I remembered to take along my camera and snap a few photos. The occasion for this visit was to pick up a book I had on hold. As those close to me know, I do like to place a few holds from time to time so I’m glad to continue the practice here at my “home away from home” library!
Here is a little information about the library I found on their website:
“APL was established in 1917, shortly after the founding of the city. For many years, the Library was operated and funded by private citizens. After years of temporary spaces, a stand-alone library opened in 1955. The library was made possible through the support and vision of Zachary Joshua Loussac, one of the city’s first philanthropists. “
The building is really very pretty both inside and out. The check out desk is in an atrium with a lot of natural light and a beautiful tapestry type artwork up above on the balcony.
There is also a coffee shop off to the left with some inviting seating. Of course I’m banned from drinking coffee for the time being so I didn’t buy anything (this visit).
The hold section for books was self-serve which was very interesting and different from the libraries with which I’m familiar. There was a row of bookshelves with a card with the first 5 letters in your last name sticking out of the book. I then just grabbed my item and went to the check-out desk. I also noticed that there was a $1.00 fine if you failed to pick up a hold you placed. I thought this wasn’t a bad idea considering how labor intensive it is to pull holds for patrons. My former workmates might agree with me on this one!
I hope to do a bit more exploring around the building on my next visit. It seems like such a warm, inviting environment to find a cozy spot and read.
As you can tell I’m a bit of a library geek, I just love them! I usually make my hubby stop on vacations and visit libraries (and old bookstores) …..he’s a nice guy that way So to be fortunate enough to be a card holder at two beautiful libraries makes me one happy girl (or old lady depending on your point of view)!
In all the moves I’ve had to make, one of the first things I’ve always done is visit my new public library and get a library card. It is then that I start feeling a bit like I belong.
Yesterday I spotted an interesting headline in USA Today, “Little Free Libraries are taking Root on Lawns”. It seems that Todd Bol of Wisconsin decided two years ago to build a miniature library, I’m talking bird house size, fill it with books, and place it in his front yard. He built it to honor his Mom who was a teacher and book lover during her lifetime. You can click on the link to read the entire article if you’d like.
Well, it seems that his idea for the Little Free Library has taken off and now lawns across the country are sprouting their own teeny book depositories. How wonderful!! There is even a website devoted to this new phenomenon, http://www.littlefreelibrary.org/index.html. Their mission is to promote literacy and a sense of community.
What a terrific idea! And of course now I want one in my front yard!