Here’s an old picture of the lobby of the MLK Library in Washington, DC. I would be a happy person being in that room for 8 hours per day circulating items or providing information. I’m really into Bauhaus architecture and still can’t get over walking around the building. It was designed by Mies van der Rohe and contains a surprising amount of original furniture and fixtures. You might notice the Barcelona pieces in the foreground. Someone may very well be sitting in one of those chairs right now. The fact that the stuff has never been replaced is amazing, and the fact that some of it has lasted this long is also amazing.
DCPL has received a severe amount of neglect, and not just the MLK library. The good news is that it is going though a for real transformation and with these changes, a rebranding process. I’ll be working in DC a bit this year to help plan and evangelize the web aspects of this transformation. We’re first going to do damage control on the current site and fix some of the user hostile things there. I’ve also done a tiny bit of window dressing since its so easy [check out the neighborhood libraries displayed as sets and the info listed on a specific library’ page] , but the larger project is akin to building an entire house. We’ll likely go beyond doing a redesign of the current site and make a leap to an entirely new, great one. Even more than the whiz-bang cool stuff that might end up on the site, perhaps the most interesting part of this process for me will be acting as the bridge between the librarians and IT/web team. Among other things this will include the challenge of developing a workflow that will enable and encourage librarians to contribute content to the website, providing real people with which the public can interact. Hot stuff.
Here’s a current picture from close to the same spot. I couldn’t get the exact same perspective because there’s a bookstore/giftshop where the original sitting area was (and I don’t have that wide of a lens either). I’m sure the librarians wouldn’t have appreciated me climbing on one of the walls to get the shot.