The city of Helsinki has approved plans to build a library unlike any other. More like a library complex, this 98 million euro building will include a movie theater, restaurant, cafes, workshop and activity spaces, and yes, a sauna! The building will be located in the center of the city, and construction will begin in 2016, with the doors set to open in 2018.
This library project is yet another example of the trend in which modern libraries are becoming community centers, areas in which many services are provided under the umbrella of a library space.
What do you all think? Is this what libraries must do to remain relevant?
Photo courtesy of Good News from Finland.
Do you love to bake and cook, but have no cash to buy specialty appliances or room to store them? Look no further than the Kitchen Library in Toronto, a non-profit started by Dayna Boyer, a Canadian food enthusiast. “There’s a whole revolution happening around home cooking and being in charge of what goes into your food,” explains Boyer.
The Kitchen Library is open 4 days a week to anyone over 18. Members must pay an annual fee of $50, and can check out items for 3-5 days (depending upon the appliance). Items range from canners to bread and pasta makers; juicers to chocolate fountains. If items are returned broken, the annual member fees generate enough money to fix or replace them. There are also fees for lateness, which run from $1-5 a day.
The Kitchen Library does have its critics. “I think it’s a bad idea from a design standpoint because everything in the kitchen is designed around the appliances,” said Vince Felicitta, the owner of Brown Felicitta Design. “You can’t design properly if the appliances are constantly changing.”
In any case, the emergence of such non-profits as the Kitchen Library is an interesting and growing trend, one that signifies a change in how we relate to space and to objects. While from a design standpoint I can understand the necessity of permanent fixtures, from a financial and social standpoint I think that projects like the Kitchen Library may be where the future is heading. Thoughts?
For more info, check out Dayna Boyers Kitchen Library website and blog.
Feel like going to the library but not leaving the comfort of your home? Check out these iconic film scenes from Beauty and the Beast to Ghostbusters, all of which take place in the library.
My personal favorite? Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Readers, an exciting new work by Scottish conceptual artist Katie Paterson is underway. In Norway, 1000 trees were planted to print books which will remain unread until the opening of the “Future Library” in 2114. A highly selective panel will choose one book each year by an author who understands that, at least for those contributing in the next 60 or 70 years, their work will not be read in their lifetime. The hopeful heart of this project is “to conceive and produce a work in the hopes of finding a receptive reader in an unknown future.”
Excitingly, Margaret Atwood will be the first author to be included in the collection. In her words,
“I am very honoured, and also happy to be part of this endeavor. This project, at least, believes the human race will still be around in a hundred years! Future Library is bound to attract a lot of attention over the decades, as people follow the progress of the trees, note what takes up residence in and around them, and try to guess what the writers have put into their sealed boxes.”
Take a look at this video, from Paterson’s Future Library website, to learn more about the project.
As outlined in this recent article from Reuters, libraries are becoming true community resources when faced with the homelessness that plagues over 600,000 Americans. When one patron suffering from homelessness was asked how often he frequents the library, he replied “”Always. I have nowhere else to go. When it’s hot, you come here to stay out of the heat. When it’s cold, you come here to stay out of the cold.”
What other public institution offers classes to young mothers and their babies, a selection of local history, tech support groups, book clubs, exercise classes, your favorite crime bestsellers, and programs to help people get back on their feet after hard times? These are obviously just a smattering of what is available in a public library; the list of everything offered there is actually far larger, and changes and adapts based on individual community needs.
I passed by the the public library in Amsterdam, New York today . Above the door the words “Free to all” are carved in stone. When people ask me if I think libraries are still relevant, I always say of course – libraries are public spaces that foster independent thinking and support community members whatever stage or station they occupy . An America in which these spaces are no longer relevant is one that I hope I never see.