Book locations: Our new library

After a three year long renovation our new library opened its doors today. It was an old building that got completely redone inside and out. The new building is only meant for fiction, children’s literature, the musical library and the historical science library. The non-fiction books are still in the old building that is attached to the new one. So our lovely library café is still there for everyone to enjoy.

The new building is VERY modern, with lots of empty space, lots of concrete and stylish furniture. A lot of the books are still gone as patrons were encouraged to check out as many books as possible before the move.

They created a super nice children’s area with lots of seats and a little auditorium for readings etc. The employees were exceptionally helpful and nice today, we will see whether that will last or whether they will go back to their old behaviour. They have even extended their opening hours and – gasp – are now open on Wednesdays. Pure luxury! The most exciting feature is a drop box where we can now return our books after the library closes. I know, this is a standard service in a lot of places, but it is a true novelty here. No more late fees for me – hopefully.


Book locations: Our library 2.0

If you are not living in the US (and maybe even if you are) you might have missed that National Library Week started yesterday. Not that we are participating but it is a good opportunity to show you the progress MY local library makes in terms of renovation. Remember, it had to move into temporary quarters a few years ago and it is a pain to go there (right now and/or in general).

My hopes are that once they moved into the new building it will be more modern and offer services that are just standard nowadays. They already changed the looks of their website, so maybe there is something positive going on after all.

Below are a few pics of the site

Library construction siteLibrary construction siteLibrary construction site

You won’t be able to see it probably, but on the last picture there is this low construction that looks like it might be some reading hall surrounded by glass walls. That would be a definite plus (but knowing those guys it will be the library director’s office).

Only a few more months, the opening is scheduled for fall 2012.


Week on the web


Here are my finds for this week…


Book locations: 9 reasons why our library sucks

Since quite a few people were impressed with the pictures of our library café, I felt it was necessary to bring you all back down to earth with this post. The café might be lovely and the courtyard the nicest bookish hangout you can imagine, however, the library itself sucks.

It is a large library, it serves a city of about 500.000 people and has various branches all over the city with one main library in the center. It also has so-called "book buses" that visit schools on a regular schedule to enable pupils to get books even if their parents don’t take them to the library.

The main library is being renovated at the moment so part of it had to be moved to various nearby buildings, but the transition seems to have gone smoothly and it does not seem to be some improvised arrangement, but it looks as if everything works fine (the renovation will be going on for another year or two, I think).

So, what is not so great about this bookish place?

  • The opening times. The library opens at 11am and closes at 6pm, except for Wednesdays when it doesn’t open at all. Saturdays it is open for 3 hours and Sunday – that goes without saying, because it is the Day of the Lord and we are in God fearing Bavaria – it is closed again. Oh, hold on, wait a minute, on Thursdays it’s open one hour longer, until 7pm. That’s when all the people who have to work for a living might make it there to rush through it.
  • The staff is not really that helpful and/or friendly. There are some people who could actually work in the free economy and succeed, but all in all they are as friendly as Rosa Klebb.
  • It offers no events to speak of. When it does they take place in some suburb branch.
  • The few English books on offer are about two decades old. I am aware it is a German library but you would think that nowadays they would make sure that they are a tiny bit multilingual.
  • The late fees are outrageous.
  • They charged me late fees for one of the boys even though they accumulated because the book bus returned to his school only after the due date.  Is that my fault?
  • At the moment there are two buildings and, of course, various departments, each with their own return desk. If you have three books, let’s say a children’s book, a novel and a non fiction book you have to go to three different return desks in two buildings to return three books.
  • They have about four different cashiers (to pay the late fee), but invariably if you want to pay at a desk they will say “You can pay just about anywhere but not with me.”
  • Their website is boring, bleak and uninformative, apart from the standard info like opening times etc. If you don’t know the library and think, “I’m going to check out their website to see whether it is worth joining” you will undoubtedly decide against becoming a member.

So you think a nice café compensates for that? I don’t.


Book locations: The library café

Our library is being renovated at the moment, however, one part of it is left alone. It used to be an old cloister and the library cafe is situated on the ground floor with view to an inner courtyard.

They serve homemade cakes, snacks and drinks and also offer a large variety of international daily newspapers. A great place to sit, relax and read…


Cafe interior




Courtyard and sculpture


Does your library have a café? What does it look like?


Weekly Geeks 2010-12: Checking Out Libraries

National Library Week is coming up April 11-17, and April is School Libraries Month (2010 is the 25th anniversary). This got me wondering about the state of libraries around the globe.
What’s your earliest memory of a library? What was it like for you? Were you more likely to hang out in the gym or the library when you were in school?
How’s the health of the library system in your community? How do you support your local library? How often do you check out books from the library vs. buying books? Tell us what your favorite library is like and include some photos if you can.

I remember that when I was a little girl I went to the local library with my mother. We had our library booklet where the librarian used to fill out by hand what books we got and when they were due. Then she would fill out the card which stuck in the book with our reader number and due date. The cards she kept. I have no idea what system they used back in those days to keep track of which books were due and who had them. They must have been pretty efficient in organizing.

Then years later I went to another library where they had little punch cards that were punched with a machine, not a computer yet, but definitely technically more advanced than the older system.

I always loved libraries. There was a time when I didn’t go that often, but now, that the kids like to read or be read to, I go more often again. I don’t get that much fiction, which I tend to rather buy and keep, but I’m getting tons of non-fiction there. Our older son has his own library card which he also uses with the library bus that comes to his school every two months. Also both our boys are members of the local church library because the kindergarten goes there regularly. So, at least where I live, the kids automatically get used to libraries from a very early age.

Library courtyardThe library system seems to be pretty healthy over here. Our local library has several little branches in the various parts of town and a number of library buses that go to schools. That way most of the school kids have a library card – whether they all use it though, I don’t know. Our library is situated in an old building (not old enough to be beautiful, just old enough to be ugly, except for some parts), but is in the process of being renovated. Outside the library Some parts of the building are either torn down or cored, so that the library had to move into different other buildings. Quite inconvenient because for kids’ books you have to go here, for non-fiction you have to go to another place…In one of the buildings they have a small cafe with lots of international newspapers where you can hang out for hours reading and watching people. It has a courtyard where you can sit outside in summer. Very nice and quiet.

Whenever we go to the library it is packed. Not that this reflects whether the library makes good money. It is subsidized and only wants money from the readers when books are not returned in time.

You can see a lot of beautiful libraries at Curious Expeditions. But I want to draw your attention to a private library. It is Jay Walker’s library in his home in New England. If I had a library like that I don’t think I’d ever leave my house again. AMAZING!

I had a look around for famous libraries and came across some ancient ones of which only ruins remain.

Hadrian's library by agelakis

Library of Ephesus by ultimatejourneys

Library of Pergamon by Zsenya

Angkor Wat by stuck_in_customs


All four images above from flick’r.

To read what other weekly geeks have to say about libraries go here. Oh, and the library in the original weekly geeks post is the Library of Congress.


A very small library

Not only does Great Britain have very small houses, now they claim to have the smallest library in the world, too.

In a village in Somerset they purchased and transformed a red telephone booth into a library. From the description it sounds more like a BookCrossing location than a library. What a cool idea! I like the thought of not having to go all over the place but just go to the phone booth to drop off and pick up books.

And just because I can, I’m posting an image of the smallest house in Great Britain, located in Conwy, Wales.

Smallest house in GB


I stumbled upon…#2

Today I stumbled upon…

…an entry about the book "Bibliotheken" (Libraries) by Candida Höfer at The Nonist. The book contains photos of libraries from all over the world. The pictures are pure eye candy. On top of it the book contains an essay by Umberto Eco, a treat in itself.

If you would like to know more about Edgar Allen Poe, go to Knowing Poe.

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Want to create your own bookmarks by folding beautiful paper? Here are two videos with how-to’s for Origami bookmarks
Origami bookmark 1
Same bookmark, but animated video