Monday, October 30, 2017

Does Antarctica have a library?

I posed the question above to Google, and here is the result. Enjoy.

The pictures didn't come with the text, but they are fun to see. Paste the link below into your browser for the full experience. [Actually, it seems that sometimes the pix show up, sometimes they don't. No explanation from me!]


On National Library Day it was fun to take stock of the value of public libraries and even those obscure ones in the Antarctic.
Here’s Scott Base’s Library, courtesy of New Zealand’s Antarctic Program digital assets.

Linda Harrison 1985-86
A blurb on Scott Base so you see how remote the reading is:
Scott Base has been New Zealand’s permanent base in Antarctica since 1957. The Base provides services and accommodation for the many scientific research parties and groups who visit Antarctica during the summer.  The Base is located on Ross Island in the Ross Sea region of Antarctica. Ross Island is 3932 km (2114 nautical miles) from Christchurch New Zealand and 1500 km from the South Pole. The Antarctic mainland is 70 km across McMurdo Sound from Scott Base. The closest neighbour to Scott Base is the American base, McMurdo Station, at 3km distance.
Lets pop over to a US Library in the Antarctic at McMurdo Station, run by the US Antarctic Program. You already have a sense that this is thousands of km from big libraries and here it’s the old-school honour system, no electronic phone calls that your books are late. From a blog Scott Afar of a one-time McMurdo Library volunteer:
“The library has over 8,000 books available for checking out. There is a specific section of Antarctic and Arctic books, as well as a section of travel guides. The library also includes a typical reference section in addition to a reference section specifically related to Antarctica. Books on tape and CD are available as are hundreds of music CDs. Patrons check out books by filling out the little card in the back of the book. The library volunteer then enters the information into a spreadsheet. Books are due back in three weeks. The whole thing functions on the honor system really. There are no fines for returning books late as sometimes it is impossible to return them on time. People take books out and then go to the Pole or remote field camps. The three book limit is also overlooked on occassion. Not that I would ever bend the rules when volunteering. Rules are rules!”
Here’s an interior, houseplant and all.

from Scott Afar blog, McMurdo Library, Antarctica
As you wander across the continent you’ll reach another  scientific base, Casey Station run by the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD)  where their library even has puzzles and games. The Librarian Ben “is too modest to mention himself is that on top of his day job, he also keeps the base library running! He has support from a Librarian back at Australia Antarctic Division headquarters in Tasmania”, according to a special blog guest postabout International Games at libraries.
Here’s Casey station and its nicely lined shelves.

Casey Station Antarctica

Casey library with puzzle in the works
Bellingshausen station where we lived, the Russian station up on the Antarctic peninsula had a few lounging spaces with a pool table, a major film room and books, but in Russian. We had the books we brought and of course the couple referral cookbooks Wendy carried with her. Not much time to read.
Lets take a last look at the UK’s state of the Art, Halley IV Research Station that floats on the Brunt ice shelf on the edge of Antarctica, where UK scientists first observed the hole in the ozone layer. It’s run by the British Antarctic Survey.
The station has a 1,510 metre sq base features a library, a TV room, a gym, and a communal area with a pool table and dartboard on top of scientific labs.

Halley IV Brunt Ice Shelf, Antarctica

A quiet room at the north end of the station. Each building sits four metres above the ice on hydraulic legs fitted with skis. This helps to prevent snow drifts accumulating, and allows Halley VI to be relocated with relative ease from Daily Mail UK
Here’s to reading wherever, whenever, and to libraries.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

61b Hennepin County, Edina, after renovation

This was my third visit to this location. The first visit, in 2012, was very fast, dictated by a bus schedule. The second, in 2013, was more or less to "make up for" that first visit. It was marked by the library being in the midst of the Minneapolis/Hennepin County blending, which involved changing Hennepin County library materials from the Dewey Decimal  classification system to Library of Congress--a major undertaking. This time, I came out here because I knew the library had recently reopened after renovations.

My first impression is hard to put my finger on, but it seemed that the parking lot was easier to navigate than it was on my second visit. Or perhaps it was just that I was using gps. But something was different and easier.

I was intrigued to see two book returns beside each other. The nearer one leads to the automated materials handling conveyor. But what do you do if you show up when the library is closed--and the AMH isn't working? In most cases (in my experience), you find a free-standing box of some sort. Here, it's just use the adjacent return slot. Neat solution.

As usual, I got permission to take interior pictures, then started to wander around. I headed clockwise from the information desk and came to the newspapers, neatly displayed in heavy plastic holders, very neat and attractive. I'm seeing these more frequently for  newspapers and periodicals. [I still have a warm spot for newspapers on sticks, but I admit these are more attractive and convenient! And modern.]

The non-fiction stacks are behind the newspapers, and along the wall there are four small meeting or study rooms, named Maud Hart Lovelace, Carol Bly, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Sinclair Lewis.

After the study rooms there is a casual seating area, followed by a conference room in the far corner.

Finally, at the end of the building we come to the Friends Reading Room with this handsome fireplace. I like how it's designed with display space for books.

That was a trip down the left side of the building. The right side holds the fiction stacks and a row of tables along the window wall. Most of the tables were in use, so no picture. Continuing along that wall we come to the teen area, with two computers, a tall counter for laptop use and varied seating. This area was occupied by one adult and two teens; it was a challenge to find an un-peopled angle for a picture!

The "core" between non-fiction and fiction, and the teen area, has a cluster of twelve computers for public use. Each table holds six computers (three and three, back to back) and is separated from patron traffic at each end by the wooden features you see below, in one case a bench, the other a book display.

Copying and printing equipment are in a semi-enclosed "bull pen" set off by shelving for media.

The final feature along the right-hand wall is the children's area, across from the service desks. This area includes the "Grandview Campground" kiosk for creative play, shown below, plus all of the books and materials you expect to see in a children's library.

This built-in seating forms a nearly complete semi-circle and provides a nice display place for books and art. A family restroom is nearby in a very convenient location.

When I arrived, a small boy (kindergartner, perhaps?) was playing with the wonderful interactive piece below. What a great way to provide interaction without using floor space! The background is metal, and the round gray pieces are magnetic and sort of rubbery; they provide enough friction to hold the clear plastic tubes in place. They can be arranged to hold the tubes in any position and angle to create a ball-run game. Later, no kids were near, and I took several minutes to try it out. It's fun...and challenging!

Little touches mean a lot, like these words above the indoor book return.


On my way back to the car I took this picture of the window wall outside the study rooms, just because I like how it looks.

10/22/2017, car, on my way to the Landscape Arboretum