libraries of the future?

I'm really into books (the more pictures the better!). Most of my design inspirations come from "date nights" at Barnes & Noble (exciting life we lead I know).

Most of it happens by accident, I go looking for one book and find something else. I'm looking at a book about Falling Water and next thing you know I'm paging through a book on Moorish tiles ...

... and then you know where that leads ... to some big crazy hoop earrings.

But I love this process, the accidental discoveries, so I was dismayed/intrigued/amazed at the new library at the University of Chicago.

They've made it a virtual library only - no books on shelves, no perusing the stacks. All the books are underground in the giant vault that can be accessed by a giant robotic arm. All 3.5 million of them ...

I'm all over the place with my opinions on this one - I love cutting edge architecture, but hate sterility. I love a streamlined process, but I'm all about fortuitous findings. I love the idea that the books still exist (albeit underground), but what if the power or internet goes out? no robot to retrieve my book?

(Candida Höfer, Trinity College Library Dublin I, 2004)

What do you think - do you want to roam the stacks or would you rather do that Kindle thing?


megan said...

This makes me a little sad! I love the process of discovery that just comes from roaming the stacks - it's one of the reasons I love going to Strand in New York City.

Unknown said...

Hi, would it be OK if I use your photo of the Trinity library on my blog? Thank you