Facilities

New Thompson Library A 'Taj Mahal' at OSU

William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library at Ohio State University is now open, and columnist Joe Blundo in the Columbus Dispatch calls it 'a Taj Mahal of a library' (as it should be at the cost of $108.7 million). ...pictures!

The place has everything: reading material, curios, terrific views and coffee. The Thompson library was built in 1913, enlarged several times and desecrated in 1965. That's when its Grand Reading Room -- a magnificent, arched space -- was divided horizontally to add a second floor.

Well, the room has been restored to its arched glory. It feels important and scholarly: When I walked in, the place was packed with students but so silent I could hear pages turning.

The building also has an 11th-floor reading room, where I would have curled up with a good book in front of a window had a seat been available. The room is a reader's aerie, with commanding views of campus and beyond.

I've heard it said that modern libraries too often de-emphasize books in favor of electronic material. Not so this place, at least visually. Thanks to glass walls, you can stand in its atrium, look up and see stacks of books rising floor after floor above you.

Judge Recuses Self from SMU Bush Library Condo Owners Suit

By LORI STAHL / The Dallas Morning News reports that the judge who has presided over a high-profile lawsuit against Southern Methodist University for years, State District Judge Martin Hoffman, has suddenly withdrawn from the case, bringing a temporary halt to all proceedings. The reason was not clear from a motion he filed with the court (but if you read his bio, you might suppose that he decided he could not be impartial in this case).

But the implications for the case itself – which has indirect ramifications for the George W. Bush Presidential Library at SMU – were fairly obvious: It no longer seems to be on the verge of ending.

Two months ago, SMU and the two former condominium owners who filed the lawsuit in 2005 announced that they had settled the case. Although the terms were not made public, it was clear that the condo owners agreed to back off their claim to land in exchange for some kind of payment. But within weeks, the terms of the settlement agreement were in dispute. Hoffman was set to issue a ruling on the settlement agreement when he recused himself.

Indianapolis Library Takes Its Suit to the IN Supreme Court

INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Supreme Court will decide whether engineering subcontractors should be held liable for millions of dollars in cost overruns in a recent renovation of Indianapolis' central public library.

The court will hear oral arguments in the $25 million lawsuit Sept. 15.
Chicago Tribune reports.

Vandals Smash Decorative Fountain at Urbana Library

Vandals destroyed a fountain at Frederick, MD's Urbana Regional Library Friday evening. A longtime Urbana family had donated the fountain to the reading garden before moving away.

At about 9:45 a.m. Saturday, a librarian discovered the three ceramic pots that made up the fountain were smashed open, said Cpl. Jennifer Bailey, a spokeswoman for the Frederick County Sheriff's Office.

Bailey said the damage to the fountain was less than $500. But the emotional damage is more severe, said Elizabeth Cromwell, the Frederick County Public Libraries' spokeswoman. Story from the Gazette.

Upstate NY Library Working Off the Grid

PERU NY-- Here comes the sun has a new meaning for the Peru Free Library.

With 49 solar panels installed on the southernmost roof, the library will soon generate its own power.

Librarian Rebecca Pace received a New York State Library Construction Grant, which paid not only for the solar panels and their installation but also a new roof, walkway and gas furnace.

She tailored the library's needs to a portion of the grant that focused on saving energy and accessibility.

"Our sidewalk was falling apart," Pace said. "We needed a new furnace as well. Natural gas was coming into the area, and we decided that would be more energy efficient not having to buy all that oil."

Trash Tagging for Science at the Seattle Public Library

If you drive by Fourth Avenue and Spring Street on Wednesday, you might want to plug your nose: Seattle's Central Public Library is getting trashed for science. And you can help says the Seattle PI blog.

"They absolutely love this building," librarian Andra Addison said of the Boston researchers who will tag 50 pieces of trash with GPS transmitters there Wednesday.

The researchers, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology SENSEable City Lab, are inviting Seattle residents to bring a piece of something to throw away -- be it in the trash or the recycling bin ("try to be original," reads the invite) -- from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

A Bit of a Mess in Dallas

Former President George W. Bush had his heart set on an expansive Presidential Library, but his requirements have been harder to achieve than he thought. No eminent domain for the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

A deal that was supposed to end a long-running lawsuit against SMU – and smooth the path for George W. Bush's presidential library – has fallen apart amid charges that both sides broke the terms of a confidential agreement. Report from the Dallas News.

Last month, Southern Methodist University and two former condominium owners announced that they had settled the bitter four-year fight over who is the rightful owner of land now slated for the grounds of the Bush library.

The lawsuit has become increasingly hard-fought since President George W. Bush left office in January and returned to Texas.

Earlier this year, Hoffman ruled that Bush would have to give a deposition in the case. The condo owners said they wanted a chance to ask Bush about meetings with SMU officials who discussed putting the library on the condo site before it owned the land; (the condos have since been demolished). An appellate court reversed Hoffman's order, and the condo owners appealed the matter to the Texas Supreme Court.

New Hampshire State Library Undergoing Major Renovation

Wind shook the windowpanes and water dripped from the skylights. Collapsing plaster ceilings forced employees to take shelter under tables, all in the finest building ever erected by the state of New Hampshire, its library. Recently work began to renovate the first state library in the nation, a pink-and-gray granite Italian Renaissance structure on Park Street. The effects of decades of deferred maintenance are slowly being erased.

The library is open to the public, but unlike city libraries, it's designed to serve researchers, not readers of popular novels. It holds the history of the state's Legislature and laws, the genealogies of countless New Hampshire families, more than 150 years of annual reports from every town.

According to the Concord Monitor, first-time visitors should come to view not its documents but the building's amazing architecture. The library's entrance is framed by columns of polished granite. Inside are massive fireplaces, swirling Sienna marble wainscoting the color of butterscotch, marble mosaic floors with multicolored decorative borders, a dedication plaque made by Tiffany Studios, magnificent plasterwork unaffordable today, fine antiques, gleaming brass light fixtures and a domed chamber that until 1970 held the state Supreme Court.

Renovation or Wreckage?

A library which underwent a £430,000 revamp has had to close after less than a week after cracks appeared in the building's ceiling.

The library in Euxton, Lancashire (UK), had reopened last Monday, but was forced to shut on Friday to enable essential repairs to take place.

Users have been told they can access services at other county libraries.

Julie Bell, from the Lancashire County Library and Information Service, said the closure was "regrettable". BBC reports.

Here's a press release announcing the improvements and re-opening before the cracks appeared.

NY's Donnell Library: Spartan Beauty or a Plain Old Beast?

Does the exterior of a library matter...or only what's inside?

This article from NY Times Real Estate section asks rhetorically, "IS the 1955 Donnell Library on Manhattan's West 53rd Street a rare piece of midcentury Modernism? Or an empty suit of expressionless masonry?"

As the vacant building heads toward demolition in two years, a cadre of preservationists still hope to convince the Landmarks Preservation Commission that the limestone facade is not a nothing, but a something.

The Donnell was not supposed to be there at all. As John D. Rockefeller Jr.’s Art Deco complex was nearing completion in the early 1930s, he had the idea of extending Rockefeller Plaza, from 49th to 51st Streets, by a block, or better yet two blocks, to the north. That way, the Museum of Modern Art, a favorite Rockefeller cause, would preside over the plaza at 53rd Street, which he found a particularly attractive vision.

Now the Donnell is scheduled to be demolished to make way for a hotel with the library on the first floor.

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