Author Topic: New Central Library Opens!  (Read 17164 times)

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Offline Keith

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New Central Library Opens!
« on: October 20, 2008, 09:00:38 PM »
As of last week (10th Oct) they are still talking about demolishing the college site by Xmas and constructing in the new Year!  However seem to have heard this before and be amazed with everything going on in the economy if anything actually happens by Xmas next year!


I agree Concerned. I was in the new Town Centre Library this afternoon and there are some great places to sit and read (first floor bay window for one). As the first part of the regeneration it really is quite impressive.


The view from the windows however is very much a work in progress, especially from some of the seats in the northern alcoves with a view of the semi-derelict college site.
I was speaking to Nick Martin at the time and he suggested that the site might be derelict enough that they can avoid paying business rates on it. The sooner it comes down the better.

The Youth section was good. Those orange things are seats, quite comfortable they are too!




Offline Mart

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New Central Library Opens!
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2008, 09:05:43 PM »
Will there be books though?
Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don’t know what your rights are, or who the person is you’re talking to. Then, on the way out, slam the door.

Offline Geoff Reid

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New Central Library Opens!
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2008, 11:20:57 PM »
 
It does look very nice, but as Mart says, where's all the books?

Offline Keith

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New Central Library Opens!
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2008, 12:23:55 PM »
It does look very nice, but as Mart says, where's all the books?

I'll upload some pictures that show the books this evening. Rest assured they are there, including an extensive section specific to Swindon!

Offline Mart

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New Central Library Opens!
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2008, 12:45:39 PM »
I'm looking forward to it, though I have probably been struck off for non attendance.

Again.
Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don’t know what your rights are, or who the person is you’re talking to. Then, on the way out, slam the door.

Offline Keith

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New Central Library Opens!
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2008, 09:52:32 PM »
Apologies for the picture quality, I took them on my mobile phone.
Councillor Mick Bray kindly posing for me in front of some book shelves!


A view from the balcony just outside the staff room on the top floor.


A view of the library from inside the central courtyard. You can't really make out the cafe on the ground floor.

Offline concerned_of_Old_Town

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New Central Library Opens!
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2008, 06:50:15 PM »
Just been there and certainly very different than the old portacabins and the temporary library on Princess Street!

Liked the fact that they have a little cafe and reading area.  It somehow looks bigger from the outside but guess the fact that the top floor is offices and the fact quite a large staircase.  Also liked the fact that the express zone opened till 10 (i think)

Did not like the fact that did not have enough staff  there was a query with my card and couldn't get any books out last night (express zone) when i came back this evening had to wait for best part of 30 minutes (lots of kids and new members been processed) when an assistant came free to look at my card only for it be an outstanding fine (pity the self service screen did not say this)

However nice too see some of the regeneration actually happen !

Offline Mart

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New Central Library Opens!
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2008, 07:57:05 PM »
Here's a something to think about.

You have to make a choice, new Debenhams with a free Starbucks thrown in, or a new library.

What would you choose?
Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don’t know what your rights are, or who the person is you’re talking to. Then, on the way out, slam the door.

Offline Geoff Reid

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New Central Library Opens!
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2008, 08:02:07 PM »
 
Library with coffee bar  :)

Offline Mart

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New Central Library Opens!
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2008, 08:41:32 PM »
OK

How about a MaccyD's or a cinema with organ, one screen and usherettes?

I'm forming a view of a regeneration project.

For the seventeen storey steel knob the alternative is a poke in the eye.

Which would certainly hamper your view.
Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don’t know what your rights are, or who the person is you’re talking to. Then, on the way out, slam the door.

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: New Central Library Opens!
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2008, 06:30:27 AM »
 
 
I came, I saw and I was underwhelmed  :-\

For me, visiting the new library was something of a MacDonalds experience.....I liked the look of it, anticipated a tasty treat all morning but when I bit into it I quickly realised looks ain't everything.

I admit the weekend didn't start well for me. Somewhere in my lower spine 'things' were grinding together in their own, peculiarly intimate and personal interpretation of a Pieter Brueghel painting. One of his darker ones....something like the 'Triumph Of Death' I suspect.

Anyway, it's fair to say I didn't have my rose tinted specs on when I visited the new library.

I liked the building design because it is light, airy and spacious. The staff are helpful and informative. I'm just not impressed with the number, or choice of books available in the library itself or the way in which they are displayed.

Perhaps it's because I grew up a town which always had a really good and well stocked library that my expectations are high....and perhaps, because Swindon library has been so badly neglected for so many years that the towns expectations of it are actually quite low and are therefore easily satisfied. I can answer the first question myself, but maybe only a "born 'n' bred" Swindonian can really answer the second.

The building is lovely. I'm told it's an award-winning design...but is it the right design for a library?, should the library be laid out in a different way to better suit the building?, was the building design influenced more by the space it would occupy and it's own 'context' within the wider regeneration project, than by it's own intended purpose?  It bothers me a little that these questions even occur to me, but I have a growing sense that the building, and the library within it, are at cross purposes, so I wonder whether the library will ever be able to attain its full potential within its curving walls. 

At present it's nice, airy and welcoming space......that feels half empty.  When, (or perhaps if), the library is better stocked I think it will start feeling cramped very quickly. I fear it may prove to be the 'M25' of local libraries, at capacity a few months after opening.

I'll keep paying for it, (it's not as if I have any choice in the matter so might as well be magnanimous about it!), because libraries really are an essential part of the community, but I probably won't use it very much because, at present, I don't think it's a very good library and Swindon deserves so very much better.

Maybe its opening was a bit rushed, maybe there's a lot of organising and book-ordering still to do, but for now, and for me, our new library looks like a triumph of design over purpose and feels like it is 'more bun than burger'. 


Offline Tig

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Re: New Central Library Opens!
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2008, 10:27:41 AM »
I like Geoff was looking forward to joining the new library (remembering how impressed I was when Newbury opened theirs). What a disappointment. I'm sorry to say its the worst library i have had the
misfortune to step in. 

sections- few and far between and not logical
design nice but I don't go a library for the building I usually go to get a book or study from reference books
reference books- WERE! again not logically set out
Study areas few and far between (not all studying is done on computers)
noise- I thought Library were meant to be quiet no signs saying please be quite or switch phones

Nice building crap library

 I will continue to use Newbury Library were there is more the a couple of books regarding social work and more then none on group work and training styles and easy to find.

I make no apology for this review being a bit harsh, I write as I see and I think the building is covering the fact it is not a good library, sort out your sections, get more books, move some computers out and have study areas and have quiet signs up and you may have a half decent library.

Offline James

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Re: New Central Library Opens!
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2008, 03:10:32 PM »
I heard some odd things about Swindon libraries today...I will check them out...
Chimed remarkably well with the comments posted so far.

James

Offline Tobes

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Re: New Central Library Opens!
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2008, 02:33:28 PM »
I went in today with the intention of signing up and registering...

The building is certainly very light and airy - but the imediate impression is that its... well.... 'light' on books too. It gave the impression that there aren't that many shelves - and many of those that were certainly seemed half empty . Although very clean and bright and modernist, there's no colour to the place... In fact, it does look rather like a commercial shop

The other odd thing was not having a proper desk to go to. In keeping with the current trend for 'help points' there just seem to be individual librarians behind desks - so you're not quite sure who's doing what for whom. I waited for ten minutes at one, to be given a form to fill out and bring back. When I came back to the desk a minute later, there was a queue of at least people stretching back, so I gave up. Minor quibble I guess, but avoidable if you have the traditional library reception desk where tasks are allotted and work shared out.
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Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: New Central Library Opens!
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2008, 03:53:43 PM »
 
Perhaps it's the last word in libraries.  'Library-Lite' ?

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Re: New Central Library Opens!
« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2008, 05:13:42 PM »
This in tonight's Advertiser from a man I have a lot of respect for. I guess I won't even be making a visit. If I want noise, computers and mobile phones, I can go to Internet Cafe.

 'Firstly the interior layout is not what one expects from a library, with both reference and lending sections together, computers throughout, to the distraction of those wishing to do serious research from books, and, worst of all in my view, loud conversations and mobile telephones actually allowed inside. When I asked a member of staff about this she said it was no fun being shushed and a library was a place of fun. No, it is a place of quiet and research.

The library runs to several floors. Surely one could have been set aside for a traditional reference section? The whole thing seems to have been designed by teenagers for use by teenagers, including half the staff uniforms about which the least said the better'


I was intrigued by what he meant about the uniforms.

Offline Mart

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Re: New Central Library Opens!
« Reply #16 on: October 27, 2008, 07:38:04 PM »
I would have to say that library traditionalists are probably peeing into the wind. Quietly, obviously.

People would be able to chat, drink coffee and watch videos in English libraries under a new government proposal, The Independent has learnt. Andy Burnham, the Secretary of State for Culture, will today launch a consultation on changing the face of libraries which he believes are out of touch.

And smoke, ride mini motos, deal smack and have a kip when they've got a bit hammered at lunchtime presumably?

Under the proposals, libraries could install coffee franchises, book shops and film centres. Noise bans will also be reviewed. Mr Burnham will tell the Public Library Authorities conference in Liverpool that libraries must "look beyond the bookcase and not sleepwalk into the era of the e-book".

Library = bookcases like pub = beer? I'm so confused.

"The popular public image of libraries as solemn and sombre places, patrolled by fearsome and formidable staff is decades out of date, but is nonetheless taken for granted by too many people," he will say, adding that the sector would have to "think radical" to modernise. English libraries attract 288 million visitors a year but book borrowings have fallen by 34 per cent in the past decade and 40 libraries closed across Britain last year. The Society of Chief Librarians has warned libraries that they will die out unless they diversify.

If it diversifies, is it still a library? 'Think radical' sends a little shiver down the spine doesn't it?

In Camden, north London, the council will lift a ban on mobile phones in its libraries this month and users will be allowed to bring in snacks and drinks. The council is also considering providing computer games at its libraries.

Dear oh dear oh dear. In my opinion.

A spokesman at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said the Government wanted to transform the atmosphere of libraries to make them more similar to Waterstones stores.

Go the whole hog, make it more similar to a pole dancing club I reckon.

Earlier, Mr Burnham that said providing more funding was not realistic in the current climate but added that libraries could still be revamped. He suggested that the traditional "silence" in libraries be reviewed and opening hours extended.

So, if they make them noisier, and open longer, literacy levels will improve then, the obvious inference being that you could be thrown out of the library for being too quiet?

"Libraries should be a place for families and joy and chatter. The word chatter might strike fear into the heart of traditionalists but libraries should be social places that offer an antidote to the isolation of someone playing on the internet at home."

Playing on the internet? Whatever floats your boat Andy boy.

Campaigners said Mr Burnham was dodging the real issue of underfunding that had plagued libraries for years.

No! Do you think?

Tim Coates the former managing director of Waterstones and a libraries campaigner said: "This ought to be about getting more reading books, particularly for children, not about turning libraries into fish and chip shops."

Bit churlish as his outlets are the preferred model.

I haven't been to the new library, I'm still quite looking forward to it. I am worried that the idea of a consultation regarding modernisation is the usual scam and the scheme is on a roll before any findings are published and analysed, yeah, I know, bit cynical, but there we are.

Anyway, have a quick Google or Yahoo, there are a few complaints from a town or three whose libraries have been 'radicalised' so if it is the case with ours, it isn't unique.

I will wander down shortly and have a look with myself, in the meantime I guess a simple measure would be 'Does the new library have fewer books than the old library?'
Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don’t know what your rights are, or who the person is you’re talking to. Then, on the way out, slam the door.

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: New Central Library Opens!
« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2008, 08:26:08 PM »
 
I deduce from the above quotes that I'm a library 'traditionalist' then  O0  I'm content with that description.


Andy Burnham squeaked:

Quote
English libraries attract 288 million visitors a year but book borrowings have fallen by 34 per cent in the past decade

Hmmm, so a lot of people are visiting libraries but fewer books are being taken home. Perhaps this shows that people are doing something 'traditionally' known as learning and researching using things 'traditionally' known as 'reference books' which, in a very real and yet 'traditional' sense means you aren't allowed to take the bloody things home.....and if you're using more than one you probably wouldn't want to carry them home anyway.

The Nu Labour way of dealing with anything remotely connected with education is to homogenise, blend and water it down to its lowest and blandest common denominator and then franchise or PFI it.  I'm surprised to see the beginings of this in Swindons central library, 'speshily one for which the brownie points for its construction are being claimed wholesale by a Tory-led council.

Perhaps the Nu Library movement doesn't want or need the 'traditional crowd' anymore, and wants to replace them with a crowd that is more hip, noisier and stickier than it has enjoyed in the past.

If that really is the case then it isn't really a library anymore and not the sort of place I want to peruse books or learn in.

Quote from: Mart
'....a simple measure would be 'Does the new library have fewer books than the old library?'

Considering it's the central library of a town with nearly 180,000 inhabitants, shouldn't the measure be:

Does it have more books than the old 'temporary' library ?


Offline Mart

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Re: New Central Library Opens!
« Reply #18 on: October 27, 2008, 08:45:19 PM »
Quote right back at ya (Christ, now I'm typing hip!)

The Nu Labour way of dealing with anything remotely connected with education is to homogenise, blend and water it down to its lowest and blandest common denominator and then franchise or PFI it.

Read it and weep, but do not worry about retaining any information. It's perfectly acceptable to be the intellectual equivalent of a root vegetable.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7692843.stm
Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don’t know what your rights are, or who the person is you’re talking to. Then, on the way out, slam the door.

Offline James

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Re: New Central Library Opens!
« Reply #19 on: October 27, 2008, 11:13:44 PM »
Quote
Does it have more books than the old 'temporary' library ?

Surely the new swanky library should have LOTS more books than the old temporary one.


James