Right now, our new library building exists in that ideal theoretical dimension in which all things are possible and nobody’s dreamed-of architectural vision clashes with anyone else’s (or with functionality, for that matter). Once the project takes shape in more concrete ways, decisions will be informed by studies and observations of customer usage in the current facility and, of course, the additional needs and wants our patrons have mentioned.
Personally, I’d love to see a single-story plan.
With only one floor, we’d have no stairs or stairwells. Staffers are acclimated to the long flight of steps, navigating them multiple times daily, but customers tend to remark about the experience–after they catch their breath. And cell phone users must not have noticed how sound funnels upward all around the stairwell, amplifying very personal conversations for the benefit of second floor. Especially at the Reference Desk, we are treated to information best left un-broadcast.
Come to think of it, if I took notes, I’d never run short of material for National Novel Writing Month.
But comments from below can be delightful. Take last Wednesday morning: a first-floor mom, hoping to expedite the morning’s agenda, focused her child’s attention on selecting children’s books to take home. But apparently the son or daughter had spied those stairs and inquired about possibilities overhead.
“Oh, it’s just boring stuff up there”, Mom explained, “Grownup stuff.”
Mom anticipated the child’s point of view; she doesn’t really believe that a floor stocked with dozens of computers, live-person customer service, and thousands of books and magazines is boring. But if you’re among those parents who lovingly devote their entire library visit to the kids’ section, how would you even know?
The grownup floor is quieter (well, usually) but hardly a snooze-fest. Adults ask fewer questions, but those run the gamut of challenges faced by this demographic: writing research papers for distance learning courses, questioning which credit reporting sites to trust, crafting and updating resumes, and so forth. (Speaking of grownup issues, did you know that with the library’s Law Depot online resource you can compose and print a basic will in about 15 minutes? Three of us here at RRPL have successfully done this recently. FYI: my bank’s notary wasn’t allowed to certify wills, but the UPS Store provides this service at a low cost.)
We’ve even heard adults clapping their hands and otherwise expressing childlike glee when they hear about upcoming releases of books by favorite authors. These titles are some I predict will be particularly well-received–as soon as we can get our hands on them:
Colleen McCullough’s Bittersweet (“epic romance”: remember The Thorn Birds? 8/19)
Haruki Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage (8/12)
Debut author Jessie Burton’s historical fiction (17th century Amsterdam) The Miniaturist (8/26)
Quirk Books’ latest: Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix (9/23)
Quirk Books products have circulated well at RRPL, and Library Journal gave Horrorstor a good review, but I admit that this one had me at the cover.