More Seattle Public Library Stuff

More stuff on the Seattle Public Library from LISNews:

The New Yorker calls the new central library “the most important new library to be built in a generation, and the most exhilarating.” The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has been trumpeting the new library, with an overview and groovy QuickTime panoramas of various of the library’s floors. The new library will have 65% of its material available in open stacks (the old library had 35%). City Librarian Deborah Jacobs has been working it, clearly; the publicity is unlike anything I’ve ever seen for any library, public or otherwise.

I know that the Internet was not such a huge part of our lives back then, but this makes the “publicity” attending the opening of the San Francisco Public Library’s new main building in 1996 look like the opening of a chicken coop. (The SF could have taken lessons from Jacobs’ leading high school journalists on a tour of the library and joking with them that you could use the fifth floor to look down four floors below to see if your blind date was worth pursuing. The SF has a similar birds’-eye view, but nobody seems much interested in it, or if they are, they immediately draw suspicion fromn security guards afraid that there’s going to be a jumper.)

The best part, for me, though, was this:

And don’t ever expect to hear this new building called the Starbucks Library or Microsoft Library. Unlike other Seattle buildings that bear the name of big donors, this will be the Seattle Public Library.

“We’d never allow the building to be named,” said Jacobs. “This is the people’s library.”

There’s also another appearance by Nancy Pearl, in another Post-Intelligencer article. She teels the story of how she once was accosted by a homeless man holding an iron (he was trying to find an outlet to plug in his iron so he could prepare for a job interview, he said). Not a few people would have flinched or called the cops. Nancy Pearl led the man to her office so he could iron his shirt.

Her point was that the public library should not be a substitute for shelter, or even for a hygiene station where the homeless could spruce themselves up. But she didn’t waggle her finger at the man and say “Tsk tsk.”

Great story.