Sudden Thoughts And Second Thoughts

The Mezzanine is Where?

I was really excited when the sign installers delivered a new directory totem for our library. It’s only about 46 years late. I am sure that most of your library buildings have some sort of quite obvious building directory near the entrance so that visitors can immediately get a sense of the layout to aid their wayfinding. For some reason our main library building never had a clear floor plan directory indicating all the major spaces. So better late than never. So I was really disappointed when the installers delivered the directory to our library and I observed that the mezzanine level was mounted at the very top of the totem – above the top third floor. It was that way in the draft design, and I clearly remember pointing out that it was in the wrong place. Well, anyone can make a mistake I figured, and the installers were really nice about it and they took the sign apart and re-ordered all the floors so the mezzanine was rightfully between the 1st and 2nd floors.

And then I thought, hey, wait a minute. While it’s not true that the mezzanine is always between floors one and two, a mezzanine is always located BETWEEN two main floors of any building (I checked a reliable source on such matters). So I’m picturing the guy/gal who is fabricating the directory and then putting the piece for the mezzanine at the top. Didn’t this person step back and ask “Hey, is there something wrong with this picture?”. It’s kind of sad when the professionals who make building directories don’t know where the mezzanine goes. Now what about our students who we constantly find on the mezzanine thinking they are on the second floor? We can only hope that if they become sign makers, they’ll have learned at least one useful thing in college.

World’s Tallest Library

I will usually take a look whenever the Chronicle has a story about a new library building (in the “Building & Grounds” section of the daily “Afternoon Update”). So this headline really caught my attention:

Ryerson U. Plans 21-Story Library in Downtown Toronto

What the…? A 21-story library building? Was that right? Have you ever seen, let alone heard of, a 21-story library building. I read the article twice but nothing about 21 stories. Further, the building, an addition to an existing structure, would be a 160,000 square foot facility. My current library is just slightly larger – at only 5 stories (one is the above mentioned mezzanine). Perhaps the building is on a very tiny piece of ground. The tallest library I’ve ever seen was 12 stories. Now when I read the story I noticed it mentioned how this would be a 21st-century library (Um, what century would it be? Maybe we should start going back to “state-of-the-art” library – or does “21st-century library” deliver a message we need to maintain?) Is it possible the writer meant “21st-century” and not “21-story”. I don’t know, but I did leave a comment asking about it. So far, no response. Maybe it’s right. Have you seen a 21-story library? BTW, a multi-room corporate library at the top of a skyscraper doesn’t count.

No Chip Off the Old Block

For my son’s birthday my spouse and I made the drive to Brooklyn for a visit and small celebration. Brooklyn is pretty great and we really like to walk through the different neighborhoods but given the cold weather that wasn’t possible. So we hung around his studio apartment (for which he pays a king’s ransom in rent). Now my son was never the neatest person but I always hoped my meticulous attention to book organization would rub off on him. As the photo below shows – apparently not.

This is how my son organizes his book collection - quite a system.
This is how my son organizes his book collection - quite a system.

So maybe the organization isn’t all that great, but at least he likes to read books – and he’s got good taste.

We’re Gonna Make It After All

Librarianship may be the only profession where we can have simultaneous conversations about how bright our future is and how we have no future at all. So if you were looking for a reliable sign that we may actually still be around just a few years from now, then look no further than a recent post by Female Science Professor. In this post the FSP asked her readers “What tradition or other general characteristic of academia would you like to see eliminated completely?” I scrutinized the lengthy list of comments in which anything and everything we hold dear to us in academia appears to be up for total extinction, and I was relieved to find that not a single one mentioned eliminating the academic library. What more do you need to know about our secure place in higher education. However, fencing teams and students should be worried.