Thursday, 27 June 2013

Dreaming of Libraries

Spijkenisse Library in the Netherlands
At this time of year many people's thoughts turn to summer holidays and trips abroad. I do not have any vacations planned for the summer, but if I were to travel abroad, my dream trip would be to the Netherlands on a library tour (I am aware that this is not everyone's idea of fun, but like Citizen Reader I am not a huge fan of hot weather and lounging around beside the pool).

The libraries that I am particularly interested in visiting are: Spijkenisse LibraryDelft Media Library and the Library at Delft University of Technology

Spijkenisse Public Library, also known as Book Mountain is a really exciting concept for a public library. Around fifty thousand books are shelved on, what is in essence, one huge bookshelf which begins with a wide base and tapers up to the roof (like a mountain, hence the name). Sustainable principles were employed in the design of the building and the bookshelves are actually made from recycled plastic bags. The interior of the Library is designed to feel as spacious as possible and does not have a proper ceiling. A glass pyramid-shaped cover protects the books and patrons from the elements whilst allowing plenty of natural light into the Library.

The Delft Media Library also looks like an amazing space to use, with pod-like chairs, bright coloured fixtures and fittings and, again, lots of natural light. The Library occupies a former blast-furnace building which has been transformed into a bright, modern building.

I would also make another stop in Delft as part of my library tour, in order to visit the University of Technology Library which looks rather like a temple from Star Wars or some other space-age fantasy. It has an enormous grass roof which is skewered by a protruding cone-like structure and a glass facade to allow the light to flow in. The architects responsible for this innovative building, Mecanoo, also designed the new Library of Birmingham which opens in the autumn.

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