Saturday, April 18, 2009

Henry Madden Library

While checking out Vintage Days at my alma mater today, my brother and I walked over to the new Henry Madden Library. While I had seen it throughout its stages of building, I hadn't seen it since its completion, so I wanted to check it out.

I was quite impressed. When I started at Fresno State they still had the old building in operation and use, and it was definitely outdated and obviously crowded. This new building is a much needed addition and upgrade. Here are a few of my observations:
  • The library utilizes space saving shelving. Shelves are about 40 feet long, and are on rails which can be moved back and forth by the push of a button, which cuts down a lot on wasted space. The shelves utilize sensors to tell if someone is in the aisle, and won't shut if there is someone there. My brother and I tried this out a few times as we walked the shelves, it was a lot of fun.
  • The main collection is on the lower level which was a cost saver for the University because that great weight of books doesn't need extra support from steel beams, etc.
  • The stairs. The main stairs in the library are some kind of woven metal fabric type thing. They look really cool and have a lot of grip, but they seem to make more noise than you feel comfortable with when in a library. I felt like I should be getting dirty looks from the librarians as I walked the stairs.
  • The high-tech LED huge screen showing an artist weaving a basket was pretty cool. The sun was pretty bright though, and I think it would have more of an impact in the dark.
  • The amount of reading rooms, study rooms, seating, tables, etc. was pretty fantastic. That is something that was definitely missed those couple of years that we didn't have a proper library.
  • It is a very impressive structure. Even walking by it when the frame was up during construction, it seems a lot bigger now.
  • The Peace Garden is much better than it had been. With some rolling hills, a few more artistic structures, and the new library as a backdrop, it definitely is more awe-inspiring.
  • They have a Starbucks, and yep, it's basically a Starbucks.
See pictures of the library (new and old) here.

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