Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Photo Tour of The First Public Library in the U.S. - with Chris from Wild Moo Books!

Hi, I'm Chris from the blog, Wildmoo Books. I'm here to share with you a photo tour of Scoville Memorial Library in Salisbury, CT, the first public library in the U.S.  It’s located in the northwest corner of the state, just miles from both New York and Massachusetts.

"Scoville Memorial Library was established in 1895. The Library as we know it today, grew from two historic libraries, one of which received town tax dollars in 1810, making it the first publicly funded library in the United States.” - from Scoville Library Website.

Plaque explaining why they are the first public library.
The beautiful exterior of the Library

The library has wonderful architectural details.

A carving from Salisbury Cathedral

More architectural detail

A patron and her dog inside the library!

It's a gorgeous building, is it not? 

 What do you think of Scoville Memorial Library?  Have you ever been? 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Imagine if you Tanya from 52 Books or Bust

Hi, I'm Tanya and I blog at 52 Books or Bust.  For this post, I scoured the internet looking for a photo of my childhood library, but to no avail. Sadly, it no longer exists, but it was perfect in every way. Close your eyes and imagine with me a small, red brick, old one-room church. Keep picturing it, but make it even smaller. It really was a small building, a re-purposed Lutheran church, in fact.

First thing when you walk in the tall, wooden double doors at the front is the librarian’s desk. No computer upon it – this was back in the days of manual check out. And always several piles of brightly coloured construction paper bookmarks. But beyond her desk just rows of four foot high bookshelves with an aisle down the centre. 

I have no idea what kind of books were on the left side of the library – non-fiction? Picture books? Complex tomes of astrophysics? But I can still picture where all my favourite books were located. The Borrowers series by Mary Norton were hidden, appropriately enough, on a bottom shelf right beside the wall. Choose Your Own Adventure were on a top shelf about half way back. Who knows where the Little House on the Prairie books were, I had those at home.

At a certain age the Children’s Library became less appealing. Everything about it was small. The four foot tall shelves could be easily seen over, the chairs were tiny and the books? Well, juvenile. This meant crossing the bridge to the world of the adult library, and I’m not talking figuratively here. There was literally a glassed in walkway joining the buildings of the two libraries.

While the Children’s Library was cute, warm and welcoming, the Adult section was a vast sea of full height stacks filled with books of knowledge. The pervading silence of the place was broken only by echoing footsteps, the sliding of card catalogue drawers and the occasional whisper. And the smell! Breathe it in, for this place smelled like books in the best way possible.

Though intimidating at first, the Adult section slowly became more familiar and seemed to change with me. Soon after I started using it computers were introduced, adding a soft pitter-patter of typing to the silence.

The two different worlds of the Woodstock Public Library, contradictory though they may seem, shaped my expectations for all libraries to come. A great library needs to be a warm and welcoming place of exploration. But the intellectual in me also wants the appearance of an erudite place of knowledge and learning. 

My current library is a 1960s monstrosity of utilitarian design. But as soon as I walk in the door there is a certain warmth that welcomes you. I love it, just as I’ve loved all my various local libraries.

Tanya really places us into these libraries!  Leave a comment for Tanya below!

Monday, September 21, 2015

My Two Favorite Libraries by Rinn of Rinn Reads

Hi, I'm Rinn and I've been blogging for three years, mostly relating to science fiction and fantasy. Reading has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember, having grown up in a house filled with stacks and stacks of books. After studying two degrees in Archaeology and then Museum Studies, I now work within a museum in Oxford.  I want to tell you about my two favorite libraries today.

My favourite library in terms of content has to be my local library - it may be small, but it has a lot of choice. Surprisingly, for such a small library, the science fiction and fantasy sections, as well as history, are really well-stocked. And located only a bus ride away, the Central Library in Oxford is HUGE and has pretty much everything. I really believe that it is important to support local library services and make good use of them. At the moment I try to visit my library at least once a week, which has pros and cons - I find loads of amazing books, but I'm also distracted from review copies that I need to get to, and my own book collection! 

However, living in Oxford - and especially working for the University - opens up SO many library based opportunities:

I can access the Bodleian Library, including the Radcliffe Camera, which looks like this:

Or perhaps you recognise this sight?

That's right, Duke Humfrey's Library, located in the Bodleian Library, is just one of the locations in Oxford that was used during the filming of the Harry Potter series. 

So in terms of appearance, I'd have to pick the Radcliffe Camera as my favourite: it looks gorgeous, scholarly and imposing. Living where I am, I'm completely spoilt for choice in terms of libraries, and I hope that never changes!

Visit Rinn at her blog, Rinn Reads, and leave a comment or question for her below!  She works at Oxford, you guys! 


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Cozy Little Library Love with Julianne of Outlandish Lit!

Hi, I'm Julianne and I blog at Outlandish Lit.  I'm not going to lie; I have a thing for big, overwhelming monsters of libraries. But ever since moving back to Minnesota from the big city of Chicago, I've found myself falling in love with the cozy little library of my childhood again. Sure, it doesn't have every book ever. But it's so cute! And you recognize the librarians because you've seen them since you were 7! And I'm really lucky that the Hennepin County library system has an amazing selection of books. It's SO QUICK about getting all my hold books to me.

Their fiction section isn't quite as big as their nonfiction section, but the librarians are constantly highlighting great books. Recently I saw My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh and Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle displayed. I'm so grateful that there are librarians who are clearly paying attention to interesting new books that are out.

The library also does a ton of cool stuff for kids. Like this tent to read in?? I know I'm an adult, but... can I please have a tent too? There are so many cool reading and art programs. I distinctly remember as a child there being a program where kids could apply to display a collection in one of their glass displays. It brought me such a sense of pride and achievement seeing my collection of Beanie Babies (because what else did 90's children collect?) on display for basically the entire world. I'm sure it was equally as exciting for everyone else as it was for me.

Overall, my library is just a really welcoming place to hang out. The chairs are comfy and there are wide open spaces to work, use computers, or just read. One of my favorite things is going to the library with my grandpa after getting lunch together. I'll pick up my (enormous amount of) books on hold and he'll sit for a while reading the new periodicals or checking out the new nonfiction books on display. Browsing at my library is so soothing and it's always nice to see a friendly, familiar face.

And if you didn't believe me when I said enormous amount of holds... Here's half of them.

Visit Julianne at Outlandish Lit and leave a comment or question for her below!!!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Controversy Over The Library of Birmingham by Sorcha of Writing About Books

Hi, I'm Sorcha and I'm going to start at the beginning. I live in Birmingham, UK, and have always disliked the previous Central Library. It was built in the 1960s, is described as “classic brutalist architecture” (i.e. darn ugly to look at), and was always dark, dingy and grotty to visit. (Gallery: Goodbye Birmingham Central Library)

Previously a manufacturing city, Birmingham has been seeing a large financial investment since the late 1980s, resulting in whole swathes of the city being rebuilt to help make the place live up to the reputation of England's Second city (competing with Manchester for the title).

Moving into the 21st Century and attention turned to what to do with the Central Library. Brummies have a history of keeping ugly but emotionally significant buildings – when coming to rebuild the old Bullring Shopping Centre, everyone was fine until someone included The Rotunda in the demolition plans – cue uproar, the Bullring being rebuilt and The Rotunda is still untouched in all it's 1960 ugliness! It was a close call as to what to do with The Central Library, with as many people wanting to keep it as wanting to tear the thing down (guess which side I was on!).

Finally, the decision was made to build a new library near by, transfer all services over, then close and demolish the old one. So, the new one was built and opened in 2013 ( Small controversy at the time in that 4 local libraries were closed in order to balance the books and justify the investment and opening hours of the new library. This meant that people on the outskirts of Birmingham, rather than having a Library on their doorstep, had to travel up to 30 minutes to get to a Library, often with children or the infirm and using public transport instead of a short walk down their High Street.

Everybody lauded the new library....for a while. It was to be open 7 days a week, to 8 pm most evenings, having a cinema, meeting rooms, cafes, BFI films on tap, a Shakespeare room, author and child friendly events – and even books you could borrow! Malala Usefzai – Nobel Peace Prize winner and now Birmingham resident - opened it. The famous and the glamorous came to visit.

Unfortunately it came at a cost. The building had been commissioned and designed in the late 2000s, at the height of the financial bubble, cost £189million to build, and opened after the crash. In 2014, it was announced that the opening hours would be reduced from 70+ to 40 per week, closing completely on Sundays. Community libraries across the city – not just the big one – have allegedly been banned from buying in new books and there's been a call for people to donate books under 12 months old in some libraries.

Public Services (e.g. everything from Rubbish Collections, Road sweepers and through to the availability of Libraries, books and Library staff) are provided by the local City Council and they get their funding from two sources: Central Government – who are continually cutting or maintaining budgets – and the people of the city via Council Tax. If the Council Tax isn't allowed to increase, then services have to be cut, and it's a fine line that the Council have to navigate and they rarely get to make a decision without criticism from one source or another.
Inside the Library of Birmingham

As for me? I wasn't using the new library all that often when it was open later. I am a creature of habit and when I get home from work, I tend to head home and not go in the opposite direction to visit the library. I haven't borrowed a book from a library in 20 years (and 3 cities), not because I don't read, but I have hundreds of books in my house that have still to be read and I have the disposable income to buy the books I really want to keep. I do occasionally make it up there for a specific event, but that's generally on a weekend when I have time to linger. Therefore the reduced times don't affect me as much as it does others.  

I am certain that there are people who use it much more than I do: those who cant afford to buy books; students who need to look up information not available on the internet; people who plan to meet friends, and support where they can; people who don't have ready or free access to the internet. I am lucky in that I am covered in these areas though other methods.

So, as the curse goes: May you live in interesting times. The furor over everything rumbles on, and I'm waiting for the next chapter.

Visit Sorcha on her blog, Writing About Books, and leave a comment or question on this fascinating post below!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Library Love Photo Tour with Chris Bookarama!

Not to disrespect my local library, but it hasn’t changed much in decades. The building is old, the furniture dates from about the 1970s, and there is NO AIR CONDITIONING. (They closed a couple of times last summer because of the heat.) I love the librarians and the books, but the building needs a major upgrade. There are plans for that to happen, unfortunately, that is still a long time from now. Maybe I’ll write about that someday.

Another library right here in my province, but not my library, did get a completely new building and I was lucky enough to visit it this summer.

new library.jpg

The Halifax Central Library located on Spring Garden Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia opened to the public on December 13, 2014. The building was designed by Danish firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen and Fowler Bauld & Mitchell of Halifax. It’s been nominated for several awards including the shortlist for the World Building of the Year Award.

But enough about that, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. There are five floors of books. On the main floor, you’ll find the bestsellers. There’s also the Paul O’Regan auditorium, a 300 seat performance space. It’s pretty fancy. You could put on a play or do a lecture there.

back new library.jpg
I spent some time looking at the art installation on the first floor, Library Cards, 5000 tiny paintings. Each one is unique, you could spend a whole day just looking at them.

Up on the second floor is where you’ll find the teen and children’s section, as well a family reading area. There’s also a Media Studio with 2 recording studios in this area. So if you want to finally launch your music career, that’s the place to go!


The third floor contains a bunch of meeting areas (First Nations, adult learning, study spaces), multimedia material and of course more books (languages and magazines). I checked out the languages section, but had no idea what the books were about! On the fourth floor, you’ll find nonfiction, reference and history. It’s also where I took this dizzying photo of the main floor.

main floor from fourth.jpg

As you can see, it’s quite bright and open. Since the outer walls are mostly glass, the views are amazing. There’s cozy seating everywhere. I don’t know how I would be able to study if I was a student. Because the space is so large, it looks like there are hardly any books, even though according to the library FAQ the collection is 40% larger than it was at the old location.

Now, for my favorite part: the fifth floor. It’s the coziest spot in the library since it’s smaller than the lower floors. It houses the fiction collection and the nicest little cafe, Pavia Gallery Espresso Bar and CafĂ©. (The main cafe is on the first floor, but I didn’t visit it.) I bought a Herring Cove Fog (a tea latte) and a cookie. The cafe opens up into a rooftop terrace where you can sit and enjoy the view of Halifax Harbour. It’s also a green space where local bog-type plants grow. I’ve never seen happier bees!

rooftop terrace.jpg

My visit to the new Halifax Central Library was the highlight of my vacation. I’m so jealous that it’s not my library, but I will be spending time there whenever I can.

I didn’t take a lot of interior photos because I felt weird taking pictures while people were quietly reading. If you want more photos, you can visit the library’s online gallery. Please do, there’s a lot more to see!

Thanks, Chris, for sharing about your library!  Visit Chris @ Chrisbookarama and leave a comment or question for Chris below to let her know you enjoyed her post!! 

Monday, September 7, 2015

A Library Love Photo Tour with Heather from Based on a True Story

Hi! I'm Heather from Based on a True Story and my library is the Akron-Summit County Public Library. I moved to Akron three years ago and I wasn't happy about it. This library is one of the nice surprises that made the move all better. The main library is located in downtown Akron. I had most recently lived in a small town in rural Ohio and wasn't prepared for what I walked into the first time I visited this library. I didn't realize how large it was because there is no main entrance that you can stand at and get a glimpse of the whole building. There are entrances all over on different levels. I come in through the parking garage.

A view of two of the three floors of the library.
There is a library store and cafe on the bottom floor. The children's library is accessed through this portal. Another thing that stands out is the art.
There are sculptures all over the building. A major hallway serves as a rotating art gallery with projects ranging from schoolkid contests to professional exhibitions.

Things I Love About My Library

  • Huge collection - I can find most things on my TBR list and anything I can't I can usually get through interlibrary loan. I request some weird things too.
  • Great website and app - I can search the catalog, reserve books, modify and monitor my reserve list, renew books, and every ask for an interlibrary loan right from the website. I can ask for the books to be sent to any of the 17 other branches of the library or six locations in the main library. I get my reserve books sent to a small branch that I pass on my way to and from work.

Not So Great Things About My Library

  • Two week checkout periods. That's the shortest of any library I've ever joined.
  • Crazy organization. I've gone on rants about them segregating authors by race. I also have very strong feelings about how they break up the nonfiction. It is on 3 floors. It isn't in numerical order. It isn't unusual to go to the first floor and find that the numbers before and after what you need are there but what you are looking for is on another floor. There usually isn't a sign that says where they are. They are just missing. For example, the travel books are in the fiction section. Excuse me, the Pop Culture section. They don't use the word "fiction." Makes me crazy.
Thanks for sharing about your library, Heather!

Leave a comment or question for Heather below to let her know you enjoyed her post! 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Wesley Gives Library Love

Hi, I'm Wesley from Library Educated.  My husband and I recently moved into a house in a new city. Among several concerns that kept me up, tossing and turning at night (“Where am I going to take yoga?”, “I have no idea where the grocery store is.”, “Are we going to pick a new church or drive to our old one?”) one that popped into my head most frequently was “Oh no…I’m going to have to find a new library”. As much as I love my old library, I’m not going to drive 25 minutes to use it, several times a week. I was going to have to learn to adjust to a new place.

A couple of things made my old library great. It was a small, uncrowded library but it had access to our county’s extensive library network. This meant I got almost everything I wanted to read delivered right to my library. The holds shelf was right by the door so if I was in a rush I could grab books and self-checkout and be back in the car in less than 5 minutes. (I generally don’t browse at the library, but occasionally on my short time in the library there would be a book on the “New Book” shelf that would give me itchy “I-need-that-book” fingers.  ) The librarians are friendly and sweet, always greeting me cheerily. They never judged me (at least to my face, haha) about the weird assortment of books that would show up in my name.

I haven’t made the jump to my new library yet, life has been busy and I have a lot of Netgalley books piling up on my Kindle. But when I finally find my new library these are things that I hope that it has:

  •  An outside return box that has a “5 minutes for book return” parking spot in front of it. I am lazy, there I said it.
  •   Friendly librarians who don’t mind it when you squeal from happiness a little too loudly when a book you’re waiting for is sitting on the hold shelf with your name on it. (Not that I’ve ever done that…*cough*)
  •  Summer reading programs for adults, with prizes! I know kids need these programs so there brains don’t go to mush between school years. But I think adults have the same problem! Staring at the computer at work, and then staring at your phone or the TV at home, it’s easy to get mushy. And who doesn’t love prizes as motivation? 
  •  Does my new city do any fun programs? Show movies in the park? Art crawls with wine on the weekends? I’d love there to be some community event information at the library so I can explore and get to know this area.
  • A wide range of books. I’d rather my library spend money on some interesting graphic novels or foreign movies then on buying 50 copies of the latest YA sensation that will be about 48 too many copies in 4 months.

Honestly, I doubt my new library will have all of these things, but a girl can dream. The important thing is that libraries are there and continue to be great resources in the community, even if I have to walk across a parking lot to return a book inside the building.
My "old" library


Thanks for sharing about your library, Wesley!

Leave a comment or question for Wesley below to let her know you enjoyed her post!