Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Barbican Library

The Barbican Library is a public library that is open to everyone. It also serves as a community center. This is a great concept because a library is not only a place where one comes for knowledge, but where one can come to seek others and feel part of the community. Built as part of a community center, people are more encouraged to visit the library, and the library gets more publicity. What a great idea! The library is surrounded by nice apartment buildings, water fountains, and a modern piece of artwork. The Barbican was started during Roman times, but much of it was destroyed during the bombings of WWII. This library had an extensive music selection and even an electric piano to practice with earphones free of charge. A librarian estimated that the library contained 200,000 volumes. The children's room was adorable and decorated in a kid-friendly way. The summer reading game this year was called "Quest Seekers," and involved small rewards upon the completion of books read. A colorful exhibit of prints on the first floor entitled, "Lost in Translation," explored the relationship between text and meaning.

The librarians seemed responsive to patrons' feedback, and even posted patrons' suggestions and librarians' responses on a bulletin board for all to see. We did not have a formal tour of this library, but browsing around worked out well, and the librarians were helpful when we approached them with questions.

I wouldn't mind if this were my public library, especially if I had children! I could live in one of those apartments right outside the library and visit the library every day. This could be what an ideal community would look like; it seems like everything is located all in one place.

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