Having just read Paul Goldberger’s rave review of Rem Koolhaas’s Seattle Public Library, I was left with one unanswered question. Do they have the books that befit such an apparently grand building?
My native city, Chicago, built a new public library a few years ago. The building is okay (although Goldberger plainly doesn’t like it at all), but there are no books. Okay, there are some books. But it is hardly a collection of the scale that Chicago deserves. (The name gives the game away to me: it’s not the Harold Washington Public Library, but the Harold Washington Library Center. I think they knew it wasn’t much of a library, so it’s a centre instead.) It sounds like Seattle’s librarian, Deborah Jacobs, is very switched on. I hope she has the books that the building merits.
A case in point is my library of choice in London, The London Library. The building is plausibly close to falling apart. But its 1 million volumes are the right 1 million volumes. And they have a wonderfully responsive and active acquisitions policy.
I may be late to the party on this, but University College London’s work on creating a three-dimensional, virtual London sounds wonderful.
“Virtual London will be distributed via a Multi-User Environment. Citizens will be able to roam around a Virtual Gallery as Avatars (digital representations of themselves) and explore the issues relating to London in a game like space.”