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The Natural Enemy of the Librarian?

April 27, 2018

A friend of my shared this article with me on Twitter a few weeks ago, The Natural Enemy of the Librarian and it made me laugh. First because I started reading it on my phone and it was a serious TL;DR. But also because after I got on a computer I was amused to find out that Charles Cutter had declared the architect the natural enemy of the librarian in 1876! Many of the points raised in this article have been reflected in the discussions that have been happening in my library all year. As we have prepared for a library renovation that will start in just a few weeks there has been an ongoing debate between form and function.

Since September, we have met with a parade of architects, vendors, project managers, book movers, regular movers, and campus partners to try to coordinate everything that needs to happen before any construction can occur. I’m happy to report none of while not all of these conversations have gone completely smoothly I don’t think any of them are our natural enemy.

I think some of the push and pull between design and practicality has been alleviated by the current trend in libraries to become more of a collaborative work space rather than a warehouse for books & journals. We were willing to sacrifice some shelf space to incorporate more open spaces. Both sides compromised on the service desk, which is remaining large, but will now become a single point of service for both circulation and reference functions. I’m looking forward to seeing how this flexible furniture and open spaces can be made functional for classes who want to have work days in the library but maybe don’t need the formality of the library classroom.

In any case, at least at my library, I think we can officially declare an end to the 140 year war between architects and librarians! Unless they take away more book truck storage…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 27, 2018 11:15 pm

    I hope the renovations go smoothly!

    • smartin592 permalink
      April 27, 2018 11:52 pm

      Thanks – me too!

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