Final Assignment - Summer 2009

Library as Three Spaces
A defense of library spaces

LIS 588
September 15, 2009

Chaitra Powell

“The reality of the building does not consist in roof and walls but in the space within to be lived in”

Library Parabola – a reading room in the British Library
Photography by Sifter


How does one describe that feeling we all get when we arrive in a space that was built with purpose? What about especially lofty purposes like capturing general knowledge, demonstrating naval prowess, showcasing art, preserving archives, or collecting Scottish poetry? Beautifully designed structures are a monument to collaboration, vision, and many skilled laborers. An architect cannot just design whatever comes to his mind, his ideas have to invoke what the keepers of the space have in mind. Christopher Wren, I.M. Pei, Mies Van der Rohe, and Frank Lloyd Wight are just a few of the world renowned architects that are immortalized with the structures that they designed. This quote by Laotse invoked some of the images that the LIS class from the British Studies program had the great pleasure of witnessing this summer. The propensity for thinking outside of the box, building genuine religious faith strong or producing knowledge that will change the world is increased when one’s surroundings are products of people who were able to do all those things. There is a reason why prisons are austere and depressing, while cathedrals are ornate and uplifting, it has everything to do with what those architects and other decision makers want people to feel. The reality that is lived within four or more walls, can be exemplified in the transformation of Paul on the pediment of St. Paul’s Cathedral , the contemporary tribute to peacekeepers which includes Martin Luther King on the fa├žade of Westminster Abbey, or the high ceilings of a British Library Reading Room where ideas are free to roam to the highest reaches.

Purpose of the Study

Aside from the ephermal appeal of architecture and design, there are very real concerns about the staying power of library spaces. To some, libraries are glorified warehouses that use antiquated systems which need to be removed in preference for more powerful technology that does not require such decadent and expensive space (Ross 145). The purpose of this paper is to show readers why the library should be a permanent societal fixture because of its role in physical space, aesthetic space and as a legitimate third place.

Research Questions

1.How did the tours of European museums, archives, and libraries influence the pursuit of this topic?

2.What is the evidence that supports the idea that libraries have been designed as more than a warehouse for books, and how can researchers tell that patrons have received this message?

3.What is a third space, and how does it relate to libraries?

4.With the current push towards digitization, what kinds of data support the idea that libraries should continue to be a part of every community, new and old?

Importance of the Study

This study is important as we begin to make decisions that will either preserve or remove libraries, in their current form, from the community landscape. If city planners and community leaders, take a look at the origins of some important libraries and measure those reasons for creation against the current needs of people we can make better arguments about which path to take. I recently read an article about a secondary school library that removed all the books from its library, and changed the space into a multi-purpose study space. All of their materials will be available online (Abel). This is a great example of how an analysis of history, sociology, architecture and other disciplines could be used to make a case against this decision.

Literature Review

Most of the literature on “library as place” centers around making the public library a space that is comfortable to its users. This type of research is important because it gives library workers some ideas on where to start planning spaces for specific members of a community. As communities are becoming more and more diverse, techniques for making the library space more inclusive are of great interest to public library administrators. The data on the library aesthetic was primarily found in journals about architecture and building design. This is where researchers can see how experts describe the impact of buildings and spaces on the moods and attitudes of the users. First hand experiences within certain library spaces and talks with the workers there also informed this research. Lastly, the third space idea came from sociology texts. The idea that people need a third space, apart from work and home, to fulfill some indeliable need to be a part of society is best explained in the book, “The Great Good Place”, by sociologist, Ray Oldenburg. All of the articles that are included in the works cited can fall into one or more of these categories.


When someone walks up the winding staircase into St. Paul’s Cathedral Library, one gets the strange sensation that he or she is in a room of great importance and a room that should be preserved at all costs. There are library buildings all around the world that invoke this sense of wonder, and this research attempts to answer why, by using currently established research as building blocks.
The most obvious source of this wonder seems to come from the senses. What does one physically feel, smell, see, hear, or taste when she enters the library space and who is responsible for these sensations? An answer to these questions can result in various off shoots. For example, interior designers, janitors, and cooks can all be responsible for the scent of a room. In order to simplify this paper, the architect will be deemed the responsible party for our sensory experience. The architect would have agreed to make the ceilings high, or the windows large, and it is his or her interpretation of the purpose of that building that creates our increased or decreased appreciation for the building. This research includes various quotes from different architects, especially from the buildings that the researcher has experienced, about their work, in order to see if the experience matched what the architect intended.

Perhaps after the artistic appeal wears off, one may begin to think about the purpose of this physical space. Why is it located on this street instead of another? Why is it this big? Why is it included in this community? The history of libraries has a diverse trajectory depending on which culture is being focused on. The readings on the importance of libraries in America over time paint a clear picture as to why and where they were built within a historical context. In the early 20th century libraries more libraries were created in urban centers to help new immigrants acquire better English skills. As modes of transportation diversified and populations radiated from city centers, libraries began to adapt to the community they served in terms of the services, materials and facilities it offered. It was not until the 1980’s that libraries began to move towards multiuse facilities and digital collections (Koontz).

After one has discovered the intent of the architect and the purpose of the space, she may want to know why it should be important to her. Why should anyone care about a coffeeshop, a hair salon, a library, or a community center, when they can drink coffee, curl their hair, read books, or play games at home? This is a valid question and it seems to be one of the impetus behind Ray Oldenburg’s theory of third place. Third places are rapidly disappearing from the social landscape, and this research attempts to use libraries as an example of an important third place that should be preserved and perpetuated into the future.


In a summer abroad, this researcher had the distinct pleasure of visiting some of the most amazing library spaces in England, Scotland and The Netherlands. This experience had a great bearing on the pursuit of this research topic. The Scottish Poetry Library, St. Paul’s Cathedral Library, the Barbican Centre and the Anne Frank House were probably the four places that had the greatest influence on this research paper. The Scottish Poetry Library is a library with a very narrow purpose, to collect and preserve Scottish poetry, but the buildings is designed with high ceilings and big, airy second floor windows that allow plenty of sunshine in. The architect of the Scottish Poetry Library, Malcolm Fraser, had the following to say about the building, “I look on this building as a poem that we've made together, composed from light, view, rhythm, embrace, movement, gathering, colour, texture and metaphor to express the joy of poetry, and optimism for its future within our culture” (Scottish). There is definitely synergy between what the architect intended and the feeling that one gets when users get when they enter the space.

Scottish Poetry Library

Joe Wisdom, the librarian who led a tour through the library at St. Paul’s Cathedral talked about the building as text. A person could literally read the pictures and symbols that adorned the exterior and interior spaces of St. Paul’s Cathedral. This shows that all buildings have a meaning and people can figure it out if they know what to look for. The Barbican Center in the heart of London is a complex that was built in an area that had been decimated by the Great Fire in 1666, the Plague in the 18th century and the Blitz during World War II. The current structure houses a library, a theatre several restaurants and office space, among many other things. The architectural style that the Barbican utilizes is called Brutalist. Brutalism is criticised as disregarding the social, historic, and architectural environment of its surroundings, it was a popular style between 1950 and 1970, and it encompassed inexpensive materials that could be used while world economies were rebounding from World War II (Barbican). The design of the Barbican seems almost out of place in the sleek, financial city center, but it has a personality that invokes the tough sprit of a community that has weathered some strong storms, and managed to come out on the other side.

Barbican Centre

Lastly, the site of the Anne Frank House is literally the last residence of the little girl who has brought so much hope to people around the world. There is no more significant space to her story than the Secret Annex, and each year thousands of people get to experience it for themselves. The curators of the Anne Frank House have managed to strike a balance between preserving a supremely sacred space and making it accessible to the general public. This is a great example of how information workers can use profound spaces to tell stories, or reflect on the past as well as providing a platform for new ideas to flourish. All of these experiences informed the outlook of the researcher and allowed her to look for intent and meaning in other library spaces.

There are many anecdotal stories that show how libraries are seen as more than just a warehouse for books. Many important people throughout history have left their literary legacies in the care of trustworthy libraries. They did this because they recognized how important it is for knowledge to be shared in a public arena. King George III donated his personal library to the British Library upon his death, Thomas Bodley built the Bodlein Library at Oxford University on the literary contributions of wealthy English patrons (Koontz). Andrew Carnegie saw the importance of free public libraries and spent his life donating money so that more libraries could be built. Carnegie envisioned these space as a place where a person could educated him or herself (Carnegie). Carnegie libraries were especially crucial to the lives of millions of American immigrants who were trying to learn English and create a life in a new land. Even today, libraries are places where community members can learn new languages and obtain life skills that will pay dividends in their futures. A place to learn life skills, for free, outside of formal educational settings is an important service in many communities. Topics as diverse as how to check e-mail oto how to study for a citizenship test cannot be effectively provided in a digital format.

Outside of auxillary services that libraries perform, there are feelings of warmth and imagination that are created when some people, especially children, utilize the library.

“In Alfred Kazin's memoir, A Walker in the City, the writer and literary critic describes visiting the Brooklyn Public Library as a boy, more than 50 years ago. "It was the Children's Library on Stone Avenue… in the long peaceful reading room there were story book tiles over the fireplace and covered deep wooden benches on each side of it where I read my way year after year from every story of King Alfred the Great to Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea."For Kazin, the experience of becoming a reader was inseparable from the power of place-the library's beautiful tile and welcoming benches.” (Kenny 11)

As this example illustrates, there is something just outside of practicality that dictates the existence of a library. For every person who has discovered a joy of reading after a meaningful visit to a local library, or an immigrant that used library resources to learn a new language, there is proof that libraries are about more than just a place to put books.

Roy Oldenburg is a sociologist who describes a third space as a place outside of a person’s workplace and home where he or she can embrace their membership in a given society. Oldenburg says that the “third place [is] the people’s own remedy for stress, loneliness, and alienation” (20). Cafes, bars, and barber shops are popular examples of third spaces, and the jovial or comfortable nature of these environments make them easy to identify. There are certain requirements that make a place a third space, and this research contends that a library is a third space, therefore making it a crucial piece to any given society. Some of the qualifications of a third space are that it is a neutral and inclusive space that allows people to mingle regardless of their social rank (Oldenburg 22-25). A public library is open to everyone and a wealthy person has the same borrowing privileges as a homeless person. Third spaces are also characterized by congeniality, they are close to home and they are composed of a friendly group of “regulars” (Oldenburg 32-39). Most librarians can attest to a real set of regulars who are a consistent presence in the library.

There is an entire body of literature that touts the importance of turning library spaces into social magnets for various segments of the population. This is not to say that people can easily slide their pub behaviors into their local library, but there are book clubs, discussion forums, and open spaces for people to join and engage with others in their neighborhood. A librarian in the Central Library in Edinburgh, Scotland mentioned a program called, “Make noise in the Library” to help young people move away from the notion that a library is only for quiet activities. The library has the power to be whatever its community needs it to be, which further adds to its value as a cornerstone of that society. Chris Cooper wrote an article, “Tiny Spaces, Big Returns”, in which he describes the conversion of a library office space, in Fortuna, CA, into a “teen zone”. The teen zone has computers, comfortable chairs, and games that the teens can utilize. The teen zone is designed by teenagers for teenagers, and is a home away from home for that body of library users (Cooper 224). Another article from Allan Kleinman discusses the importance of senior citizen area in a library, complete with large print books and tables with space for wheelchairs (Kleiman 12). Both of these examples express the importance of the library in our fully functioning society. It does not have the age restrictions or the monetary obligations of a bar, but it does have the potential to provide the same level of comraderie and social cohesion.


One of the themes of this paper is to take an interdisciplinary approach to make the case for the value of library spaces. This seems to be the best way to convince the widest cross section of opponents of one’s position. Much of the supporting documents come from sources as diverse as school library journals, architectural magazines and sociological texts. Hopefully these ideas have come together to show the importance of preserving library spaces. The principles that prompted governments and private citizens to support public libraries centuries ago have not disappeared and should be honored as the world continues to create new communities. While most of this paper is focused on great libraries that were build in the past, further research could be done on the new kinds of “text” that library buildings might be displaying. The Burton Barr Library in Phoenix, Arizona (bottom), and the Cerritos Library (top) just outside of Los Angeles would be great examples of modern libraries that have incorporated inspiring spaces in an increasingly digital age. Other research spin offs could include psychological evidence of the impact of space on mood and performance for various intellectual pursuits. As technology advances, people will need more reasons to exercise moderation and think things through before making decisions that could permanently remove certain traditions and pockets of information from our society.

Cerritos Public Library (California)

Burton Barr Public Library (Arizona)

Works Cited

Abel, David. “Welcome to the Library, Say Goodbye to the Books”. The Boston Globe. Accessed on September 5, 2009.
Balas, Janet L. Physical Space and Digital Space--Librarians Belong in Both. Computers in Libraries; May2007, Vol. 27 Issue 5, p26-29, 4p, 3 bw Accessed on September 5, 2009.

Barbican Centre. Accessed on September 5, 2009.

Cooper, Chris. Tiny Space, Big Returns. Voice of Youth Advocates; Aug2008, Vol. 31 Issue 3, p224-225, 2p Accessed on September 5, 2009.

Cy, Dillon. A Place for Everything: Everything in Its Place. Virginia Libraries; Apr-Jun2009, Vol. 55 Issue 2, p2-4, 3p, 2 bw Accessed on September 5, 2009.

Gregory, Gwen M. (Book Review). “Designing Library Places for the Younger Crowd” (The article reviews the book "Teen Spaces: The Step-by-Step Library Makeover," second edition, by Kimberly Bolan). Information Today; Apr2009, Vol. 26 Issue 4, p40-40, 1p, 1 bw Accessed on September 5, 2009.

Kenney, Brian. The Power of Place. School Library Journal; Jan2008, Vol. 54 Issue 1, p11-11, 1p, 1 color Accessed on September 5, 2009.

Kleiman, Allan M. "Senior Spaces," the Library Place for Baby Boomers and Older Adults. Interface (02706717); Spring2009, Vol. 31 Issue 2, p12-12, 1p Accessed on September 5, 2009.

Koontz, Christie M. A History of Location of U.S. Public Libraries Within Community Place and Space: Evolving Implications for the Library's Mission of Equitable Service. Public Library Quarterly; 2007, Vol. 26 Issue 1/2, p75, 26p Accessed on September 5, 2009.

Lawson, Karen. (Book Review). Library as Place: Rethinking Roles, Rethinking Space by Geoffrey T. Freeman.Serials Librarian; 2007, Vol. 51 Issue 3/4, p238-239, 2p Accessed on September 5, 2009.

Oldenburg, Ray. The Great Good Place: Cafes, coffee shops, community centers, beauty parlors, general stores, bars, hangouts,m and how they get you through the day. Paragon House. New York NY, 1989.
Pomerantz, Jeffrey and Gary Marchionini. The digital library as place. Journal of Documentation; 2007, Vol. 63 Issue 4, p505-533, 29p Accessed on September 5, 2009.

Ross, Lyman and Pongracz Sennyey. “The Library is Dead, Long Live the Library! The Practice of Academic Librarianship and the Digital Revolution”. Journal of Academic Librarianship 34(2) p145 – 152. March 2008. 3&_cdi=6556&_user=56761&_orig=search&_coverDate=03%2F31%2F2008&_sk=999659997&view=c&wchp=dGLbVzW-zSkzk&md5=2d6b7d05ad38233f6370389f8f4c82ea&ie=/sdarticle.pdf Accessed on September 5, 2009.

Scottish Public Library Website. Accessed on September 5, 2009.
Storer, Maryruth. “Orange County Public Law Library tests its resolve for more space with a challenging renovation”. AALL Spectrum; May2007, Vol. 11 Issue 7, p18-19, 2p, 4 color Accessed on September 5, 2009.

Anne Frank House (Extra #3)

While we were in Amsterdam for the mini-break, we found time to visit the Anne Frank House. Although my research paper seems to focus on library as place, these something very significant about the site of this museum. Not very many museums can say that they occupy the site of the primary focus of the exhibits. The Anne Frank House is precisely that, as museum patrons we were able to climb the stairs, that were behind the bookcase, which led to the Secret Annex, where Anne Frank and seven others stowed away from the German occupation of The Netherlands.

On July 6, 1942 the Frank family moved into a secret compartment in this residence on Prinsengracht, and after a little over two years, the family's hidden location was revealed and they were all arrested and taken to concentration camps. Anne Frank kept a diary for the duration of her hiding, and it was published in 1947, and has since been published in 65 other languages Otto Frank, Anne's father survived the ordeal, and he wanted Anne's story to be shared to honor her memory and shed light on the human rights issues around the world (Anne Frank House brochure).


Since the Anne Frank Museum incorporates the story in a multi-media format and we were physically in her space, which make the entire experience very memorable. Excerpts from Anne's diary are printed on the walls. There are even traces of the magazine pictures and posters of movie stars and other celebrities that Anne put on her walls to liven up the place. The Secret Annex is small, it is hard to believe that 8 people lived up there for two years, afraid to make noise or go outside for fear of being captured.


The end of the Anne Frank House museum really connected this experience to my Library School experience at The University of Arizona. The tour concludes with the option for museum patrons to weigh in on various ethical dilemmas. Genocide is a clear case of human rights violations, but what about the Patriot Act? What about Holocaust denial literature or stopping peaceful congregations that are spewing hateful propaganda? I took an ethics class last semester, and I found myself using some of those lines of reasoning, such as Utilitarian and Kantian, as I thought about these issues. Graduate school has given me so many skills beyond the scope of libraries, archives and museums, and it is very profound to see it in action.

Scottish Poetry Library (Extra #2)

After our look at the two Edinburgh libraries, we strolled down the street to the Scottish Poetry Library. The atmosphere in this library gives a very traditional feel to a a genre whose meaning can be very obscure to some people. There are many windows, which allows a good amount of natural light to filter into the reading areas, creating a very serene space. The building would have to be interesting if it is built in any proximity to the Scottish Parliament, a structure complete with 8 foot jagged wooden sticks standing vertically along the facade.

The architect of the Scottish Poetry Library, Malcolm Fraser, has said, "I look on this building as a poem that we've made together, composed from light, view, rhythm, embrace, movement, gathering, colour, texture and metaphor to express the joy of poetry, and optimism for its future within our culture." (

Outside of an incredible space to work with, the Scottish Poetry library has a large, yet specialized collection. The library seemed to honoring a local poet by printing lines from poetry on the walls. This library was established in 1984, and the collection has an emphasis in contemporary poetry written in Scots, English and Gaelic. They provide their materials for free to the general public, and they promote themselves as a place for poets, scholars and people who can appreciate great poetry. (

I didn't get to spend as much time in this library as I would have liked, but I could tell that it is a very special place, with many of Scotland's lesser known treasures. I was able to go upstairs and explore the children's section. It had a big colorful rug and the books on display were a diverse sampling. I think that people have a tendency to think that all poetry has to rhyme or adhere to some strict formats that don't represent the way that real people talk. One walk through this library, and someone may be convinced to think differently, some poems are short, many books are full of accompanying illustrations or photographs, as well as content and language that they average person can relate to.

I noticed that there was a poet being featured while we were there and the website alludes that there is a poet being featured every month. This tradition further connects the Scottish Public Library to the community. Featured poets are getting the support of their city and the importance of poetry is being perpetuated among family, friends and neighbors.

I have attended many spoken word performance throughout my college career, and one of the hosts asked the audience, "if you could write a poem that would save someones life, would you write it?". The line has always stuck with me because it assumes some commonalities of the human experience, and who doesn't want to believe that someone else may know how we are feeling at any point in time.

National Archives of Scotland


On our third day in Scotland, July 28, we visited the National Archives of Scotland, in Edinburgh. Margaret McBide, head of Education and OutreachThe National Archives of Scotland were created to preserve, protect, and promote the nations records. Some of their main goals are to be inclusive and accessible to the people of Scotland and the rest of the world. There are 160 people on staff, 8 websites and 3 buildings throughout the archive's system.

The 3 buidings are the General Register House (1745), which houses materials that are too fragile to be in the general collection, West Register House (1971), which includes a modern search room for the public, and the Thomas Thomson House (1995), which is dedicated to storage and conservation efforts. Since the National Archives of Scotlnd is one of the United Kingdom's depositories, the collection is constantly growing. Even with three buildings, the librarians and archivists are concerned about space and thinking of cutting edge solutions to the problem.

Record Services and Corporate Services are the two major divisions of the archives. The Records Services division contains government records, court/legal documents and collections development. The Corporate Services division includes conservation efforts, reader's services, accomodation services, financial services, administration, information, communication, and technical services.

The National Archive of Scotland hold materials from the 12th century until today. The collection includes registers of deeds and sasines, as well as marriage certificates. These items can help people who are doing geneological research confirm some of the details of their ancestors' lives. Many items have been digitized and are available on one of the archive's websites. The websites have links for the novive and the expert geneaologic researcher, which is important because the learning curve is very steep.

My experience at this archive was very memorable, because the holdings are so unique, nd we were able to handle them. This is also the first time that we were asked to wear gloves while handling some of the materials. In other places, we were not allowed to touch things, indicating their importance, or we could touch things that had been laminated, which indicates the high frequency or accessibilty of the item. In this case, we were carefully handling items that most people don't get a chance to.

I was impressed by the newpaper clippings that detailed the treatment of the jailed British suffrettes. There were also transcripts that desribed the Burke and Hare, the infamous Scottish body snatchers, trials. There was also a handwritten ledger that showed how much land individuals had purchased and how much they owed on it. These are mundane items that may even exisit in 2010, but because they were preserved from their time period, it gives us a great insight into the past. The availability of these items invigortes the history. Any teacher could say that women could buy land in 1932 is one thing, but to see a womans's names on a ledger and her consistent payments is quite another.


Central Library, Edinburgh

After our visit to the National Library of Scotland, we received a tour of a Carnegie Public Library, in Edinburgh. The Central Public Library works in conjunction with the National Archives of Scotland to provide resources for family research. The Central Library acquired an annex in 1989 for archive purposes and duplicate copies of some materials, even though two thirds of the collection is online.

Along with family research, patrons can visit this library to utilize the general collection, the music library, the children's library, and the art library which are separate yet connected spaces in the library. The reference or general collection is an amazing space because of the dome overhead, and the gilded details on the original features. Patrons must apply for and obtain a "library passport" to access the reference library.

The Art library used to house most of its materials in the stacks until it got its own space in the 1930's. The Art library contains materials on paintings, architecture, graphic art and art history. Our tour of the facilities included a description of how the original French architecture was uncovered in the most recent renovations and how all the space is being occupied at the moment.

It was nice to learn about the architecture of the building, and how it works with the librarians and the patrons toward advancing the grander purpose of the library. There is an inscription on the entrance to the reference library that reads, "Tecvm Habita - 1616" which loosely translates as "be comfortable with who you are". This is yet another example of how the space can positively impact the people who are are using it.

The last second half of our time at the Central Library included an amazing question and answer session with some of the librarians on staff and a light snack. One librarian, Colm, specialized in Reader Development, his current project is helping at risk students develop a joy of reading. Colm used his personal experience to show how fulfilling his job could be, and every potential public librarian in our group complimented him and asked him as many questions as she or he could think of. Colm talked about meeting readers were they are at instead of imposing standards on the individual, and helping young readers build confidence in their reading skills.

Along with hiring librarians who reach out to under served populations, the Central Library also reaches out to local authors and publishers to collaborate on various literacy initiatives. Some campaigns that the librarians use to appeal to a new generation of patrons include, "You've Got to Read This", "Books That Changed My Life", and a "Make Noise in the Library Workshop". The Central Library is almost 100 years old, but it keeps itself relevant by improving wi-fi connections and showing concern for groups that are often marginalized.

Outside of at risk youth, the librarians talked about initiatives that would improve access for people with disabilities, especially people who have to use wheelchairs. Throughout our class and our amazing library tours, I have wondered if antiquated buildings and institutions ever feel the need to adapt to their patrons. My answer was leaning towards no until this visit. There has to be a balance between respecting the space constraints and historic infrastructure and allowing all individuals to feel autonomous and welcome in the space. This library has shown me that there are many ways to accomplish this task.

National Library of Scotland

Our first library visit in Edinburgh was to the National Library of Scotland, on Monday, July 27. This is one of six national depository libraries in the United Kingdom, this designation was established in 1710, the library as an independent entity has been around since 1925. Although there are gaps in the early collection, the main purpose of the library is to preserve materials on Scotland and Scottish culture.

The are three main components or collections at the National Library of Scotland. The Rare Books Collection includes materials that were published before 1850. The Manuscripts Collection includes all of the unique books. The Modern Collection contains everything else about Scotland or by Scottish authors, such as Robert Louis Stevenson's novel, Treasure Island. Overall, the National Library of Scotland contains 14 million books and manuscripts, 2 million maps and atlases, 300,000 musical scores, 32,000 films/videos, 25,000 newspapers/magazines, and 6,000 new items arrive every week.

The library also seeks to educate the patrons with various exhibitions. The John Murray exhibit which chronicles seven generations of Murray publishers who were responsible for the distribution of very famous literary works by Scottish writers. The John Murray exhibit was closed at this time, but Scottish emigration display was open and very engaging.

The exhibit has quite a few tactile aspects, which allow visitors experience what it must have been like to leave friends, family and homeland behind to pursue uncertain opportunities. There are diary entries on display and "telephone receivers" that patrons can pick up in order to listen to some of the stories in the accents of the people who lived through them. These Scottish emigrants went to places as diverse as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Uruguay, China, and Indonesia. Their artifacts show how they managed to preserve their heritage with dances and festivals that reminded them of their Scottish roots.


There are also early references to the Highland Gathering being an important event that would always bring the emigrants home. Perhaps because the Scottish legacy is smaller and a little more homogeneous, the Scottish National Library seemed much more personal than the British National Library. I appreciate the way that these librarians and exhibit curators create a library space that gives a context for Scottish contributions to the arts, literature and academia.

Victoria and Albert Museum (Extra #1)

On Friday, July 24th, I made a return visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum to look at the architecture and fashion exhibits. The architecture exhibit is closely related to Research Paper topic on "Library as Place". On the fourth level of the Victoria and Albert Museum in rooms 127 and 128, there are architecture exhibits. One of the main themes was architecture in context. I think that this is important when we look at the design and location of some of the other libraries that we have visited on this trip.

The way that St. Pauls needed to have the traditional cross layout, regardless of what the architect thought, because of the church's political obligations. The Barbican Library was built in a neighborhood that was destroyed from the war and in a time when the British economy was too depressed to afford expensive building materials, which explains its austere or brutalist design that we see today.

There is a prominent feature on this floor on Trafalgar Square, including the significance of the battle and the military man that it commemorates, the symbolism of the lions and the role that the area has played throughout Britain's history. There were also several wooden models of important buildings that were eventually constructed around the world.

Bramante's Tempietto in Italy ( is a standard example of the classical design, and its wooden model is in the Victoria and Albert Museum protected by a glass case. There is also a wooden model of one of Christopher Wren's original designs for St. Paul's Cathedral.

The architecture section pays homage to the building art of the Far East. I hadnever learned much about the ornament and structures that go into japanes buildings, and this museum explains some Asian techniques, and provides some 3-D examples for us to see. Lastly, there is a long hallway that displays the sketches of the designs of famous British architects.

As much as I love my jaunt in the Architecture department, I had to take a detour into the fashion department to see what they had to offer. I went back down to the first floor and checked out the evolution of women's clothes. I could understand the Victorian dresses, but I was so surprised by the Juicy velour jogging suit. (

I guess I should not have been surprised because we are living history, the value of our modern things will grow over time, and I am grateful to the V&A for taking time to preserve it. The velour track suit also serves as a great benchmark of how far we've come and the direction we might be going. In the fashion showcase, there were suits, shoes and dresses from Vivienne Westwood, Chanel, and various other designers that I only know about from syndicated episodes of "Sex and the City". (
The entire fashion department reminded me of my parent's closet, because my mom's (womens) section occupied about three fourths of the collection while my dad (men) made do with what was left. I took a picture of this illustrated fashion wheel, because it represents how fashions go in and out of style in a cyclical manner.

The absolute best part of this museum was what I was able to take away from it. Not just my memories but the most amazing navy blue lace fashionista gloves that I found in the museum gift shop. Thank you Victoria and Albert Museum!