Thursday, September 5, 2013

Toronto Public Library: Riverdale Branch

370 Broadview Ave.

I think this building looks much more library-like than the last one. Which I guess raises the question "what should a library look like?".

I've been reading some articles about the new, fancy, incredibly expensive (188 million pounds) library which just opened in Birmingham in England. Of course while I'm sure this library is cool, it's also being opened at a time when the hours and staff at other libraries in Birmingham are being cut back and I wonder if it's the best way to use that money.

Then there are the issues surrounding library design. How do you design a building to last when you have no idea what libraries will even be used for in a decade? (Okay, they'll still probably be used for borrowing books.) 

In regards to design the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library recently got rid of their reference desks and replaced them with roving reference librarians who will come find you if you phone or tweet at them. How modern! I'm curious to see how it'll be received. Personally I totally hate it. When I was in the library recently I discovered that the zine section had been moved. I asked at the downstairs information desk (which is still there!) and was told it was on the third floor. After wandering around on the third floor I couldn't find it, and I also couldn't find any librarians. So I left. I don't particularly want to phone somebody and wait for them to show up when all I want is for them to point me in the right direction.

Of course, I pretty much only ask for help when I can't find something (which most of the time is because it's been stolen), and by asking for help to find it I'm indirectly letting the library know it's been stolen.

And hey, speaking of missing books, remember when I complained about all the X-Men comics being stolen from the library? At the time there were 145 results for X-Men when you limited the search to comic books. Now there are only 19 (five of which _still_ aren't actually comics, and may not even be about the X-Men)! What happened? Did they actually delete all those books that were missing? No, it seems they've just moved them over to the "books" section. I do not understand why they have done this.

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