New Cambridge Public Library Building

[Cambridge library]

I finally got to the new building of
the Cambridge Public Library
, which opened in November,
yesterday.

It’s really pretty nice. Of course, it helped that it was a
sunny day — I’m not sure it would be as cheerful at night or on
a cloudy day. But just having enough space does make a lot of
difference to how pleasant the seating areas are.

One of the problems with the old library was that it was hard
to find things. The new one has a pamphlet with diagrams of
what’s on each floor. It was still a little hard to figure out
that the “L” floors were underneath the main floor in the
“Glass” building rather than in the “Stone” building, but after
I realized that, I had no trouble finding the fiction collection.

I didn’t check out the meeting rooms or the lounge areas. I
did sit down in the “New Books” area and check that my Nokia 810
could connect easily to wireless.

It’s obvious just by looking at the fiction collection that a
lot of old books have been deaccessioned. When I found only two
books by Elizabeth
Goudge
on the shelf, I checked the catalog. It lists three
of her books as being in the Cambridge library, but all of them
seem to (for now) be in the Minuteman Library Network.

One problem with life in Cambridge recently has been that while the main
library building has been closed for the renovations, the old school
building used as a substitute home didn’t have enough air
conditioning to be a good place to go on a hot summer day. It
looks like this will solve that problem.

I’ve always liked the Richardsonian Romanesque old building,
but it clearly didn’t really have enough space, and I’m glad
it’s been joined by a pleasant new building. When the decision
was made to make an addition rather than move the main library
to a new site, a lot of people felt that a Central Square site
would have been more accessible to more people, both in terms of
where people live and where the public transportation goes. I
understand that point of view, but I’m glad the old library is
still there. (For me, Central Square is a little closer, but
not enough to matter.)

If you want technical discussion of the architecture, here’s an
article.

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