I was in Mexico City last week and it was great. Why was it great? Aside from having a completely transcendent taco experience I got to see some more Mexican libraries. Super good stuff:
The Biblioteca Amalia González Caballero in El Parque México.
The public library in San Miguel De Allende.
Biblioteca de México “José Vasconcelos”
The National Library has a project called “City of Books” which houses the personal collections of five Mexican authors. The spaces function as part archive, part research libraries, part tribute, and part all around amazing places to be. The building also has an amazing space for the visual impaired, an inspiring general use area and a popular area for kids.
Carlos Monsiváis liked cats. The art in his library reflected that.
Looks like cat hair. Totally gross.
From the collection of Jaime Garcia Terres.
A great room for meeting, talking, studying, reading, laptopping, etc… The lifted ceiling makes one feel as if they’re still outside.
Here’s the space for the visually impaired.
The art in this room is audio. Press your ear against the wall to hear a soundscape.
Section for visually impaired children.
Okay, not libraries, but two museums. First, the Museo Rufino Tamayo.
This wasn’t even an exhibit in El Chopo. Just some amazing storage organization!
And in the bookstore: To read is a pleasure.
Previous Mexican Library content on Walking Paper
The identity is based on a modular system of shapes that can form different characters and patterns. The idea is that the kids can have fun with this system – creating stories and characters of their own – and that the identity can continue to grow in many direction. [via HVASS&HANNIBAL]
Wow. The act of creation is built in to the identity of the library. Super cool.
“The result was very surprising – the children generally prefered the more simple designs, whereas the librarians prefered the more complex ones with lots of details. So in the end we decided on keeping the logo very simple with the possibilty of adding details when combining it with more of the identity’s shapes…” [via Creative Review]
Librarians preferring complexity? You don’t say!
Typography themed maze? Yes!
I was assured that the kids’ section isn’t always dark and empty. Looked cool like this though. Note the kid sized self check machines.
Am I going soft or have I just been running into good library signs recently? This library had a unified system of good looking signs. One of the best I’ve seen.
Finally, some journey mapping that we did.
The goal is to provide a fun, creative environment for teens to engage with audio recording technology and explore their own self-expression and presentation skills.
Another winner from Escondido Public Library.
Our most exciting news is that our Teen Librarian, Joanna Axelrod, has teamed up with LibraryYOU’s Viktor Sjoberg to start a Pop Up Podcast program for teens in two locations on the east side of Escondido that used to be served by our now-closed East Valley Branch.
She’s met latchkey kids and answered teens’ questions about sex – and took advantage of the opportunity to talk to them about diabetes and high blood pressure. She helped a victim of domestic violence find safe shelter and get medical attention. She encourages library visitors to use the hand sanitizer that’s always available to reduce the spread of germs. “Everything is an educational moment,” Pogue says.
She listens to the worries of the elderly, the unemployed and the homeless who turn to libraries for help and safety, and directs them to social services when appropriate.
“It takes a nurse to put a gentle hand on theirs and say, ‘I’m here for you.'” Pogue says.
How about we do less handwringing about electronic content and spend more time developing programs like this?
We know it’s hard to meet new people after college. Can you honestly think of a better place to meet someone than a library? Locking eyes over the Vonnegut section? Or maybe your hands brush while reaching for the last copy of Infinite Jest? Well, genre X is helping you out and shaking up traditional speed dating in an afterhours event open to all men and women in their 20s and 30s on Saturday, February 11th from 8:00-11:00 PM.
Help yourself to a drink on the house before diving into the mix. You’ll mingle with everybody during three series of short mini-dates, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Flirt with potential dates and stir up some new friendships. Cool off between heats with a trip to the cash bar. After you’ve made the rounds, let us know who has piqued your curiosity, and we’ll let you know if they feel the same way.
Read more at Genre-X
A new library at the edge of a public plaza – complete with tube stop – that hosts a farmers market and other community events.
Here’s a review of the building from the Guardian. It has some typical libraries = book talk but also some higher level sentiments:
And not, according to its architect, Piers Gough, for whom “books haven’t gone away. Libraries still hold these magic realms of invention, realms of ideas. They’re places where you’re not told what to think; they’re also places where you can stay and stop and spend as long as you like.”
More from the BBC: ‘Super library’ in Southwark opens its doors