A Synthesis Of Library History And Information Cultural Studies Essay


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It is becoming more and more obvious that there is a need to consider and comprehend the processes occurring in this area, to define the typology, to give the functional characteristic, to define a vector of development of morphological changes of regenerating type of the building. It is necessary to give scientific definition in fact of the new arising phenomenon, or a new round of an evolutionary chain. In the short review devoted to this subject, the author will try/attempt to draw speculative "portrait" of Library of the new millennium. But before we will consider the general principles of construction characteristic for modern library buildings, that analyzing this information, will help to define tendencies of their development in the future.

Chapter 1: A synthesis of library history and information

Public libraries belong to the most ancient establishments/institutions of science and culture. These traditional repositories provide the cultural heritage and take part in its development and distribution/dissemination. In the idea of construction of specialized buildings for libraries founded the meaning of their further continuous used many generations. Every era and each country built and build library facilities which are equitable to their interests, conditions and requirements. Therefore, this process is accompanied by permanent changes in views of their planning/layout and use. Library buildings reflect architecture of its era. For example, the individual objects of library buildings can be clearly traced through the historical development of architectural forms.

The emergence of specialized library buildings refers to an extreme antiquity. Improved building libraries appeared in ancient Greece and Italy, and with special equipment - in XIII-XIV centuries. (this period is associated with the spread/distribution of religious educational institutions, medieval universities and colleges). Characteristic was that construction of the first libraries for the patrons and benefactors interested in increasing the scientific and cultural potential. The architectural image of library buildings match the features of ecclesiastical and secular architecture. On the construction of libraries influenced the palace pompous style, which for a long time widely was accepted throughout Europe and America. Typically, the functional solution in architectural projects of library buildings of those times were not the primary role. As a result, the building designed specifically as a library did not have characteristic features, but were a simply reflection of common architectural principles. The alignment of planning decision wasn't functional and well-organized. Built in the mid-nineteenth century, the library facilities are equivalent to middle of the twentieth structures, there are no distinct typological signs. Very often there are examples in history when the library moved in already constructed buildings for other needs. In such circumstances, the potential of libraries as the social and cultural centre can't be fully realized and further development stops. This contradiction to the mid-XX-century became a problem that had to be solved.

In today's appropriate manifestation of a developing society - the need for architectural decoration of objects, in which are concentrated the latest achievements in the field of information. Since the end of the 70-ies of XX century, the familiar image of the public library began to change. The main reason is the reduction of interest to potential readers. Studies have shown that, in addition to physical deterioration of buildings (late 19th century), library collections and furniture, outdated the moral character of libraries, organization of work, principles, vision of this topic into the public consciousness.

It induced some architects to more general reflections about a role of the library building which should not only correspond fully with evolving activities developing under its roof, but also to be a vehicle for (this activity) improvement. Under the influence of progress many libraries had remaining long time the main centers of the educational activity of the population, today are in dire need of functional reorganization. The emergence of alternative data carriers has changed idea not only the functions again erected architectural objects, but also the approach to their structure/morphogenesis. Processes of training and informative activity are accelerated along with the improvement of training/educational technologies. The increasing demands for self-education, expansion of a range activity of libraries and evolutionary transition from library to the multifunctional public cultural center define the tendencies of development of this type of buildings and confirm relevance of the chosen theme.

Chapter 2 Paradigm Shift in Progress: Building the 21st Century Library

Nowadays the library has ceased to be only a place to store documents, to ensure the safety and use of books. From the point of view of the functional organization, the modern library got rid of the established accurate hierarchy of the organization of internal space. The principle of "one room library" - compositionally the free planning, flowing into each other premise spaces promote completeness of development by visitors of all building as a whole, instead of isolate its part. This principle is realized in many modern projects, including, in buildings of libraries of the Californian University in Irvine, (a project of Michael Wilford and James Stirling); ultramodern Peckham Library in London, United Kingdom (Alsop Architects); Mediatheques/ Hybrid Libraries in Paris, France (Architect - Mario Botta), the library building itself is striving to become a socio-cultural centre. Big saturation by various functions of volume of the public center promotes disclosure of its educational opportunities. The general program of cultural and thematic actions for the entire center makes it even more attractive to visitors. The person who came to an exhibition, can become interested in library and continue to stay inside. The public center, (for example, Georges Pompidou's Center in Paris) besides the main function, contains related such as trade, a public catering, entertaining part.

The core of the public center - library, which forms interaction of all thematic blocks of the center. The functional organization of library space is under construction by the principle of the organization of uniform space. It is divided into three zones:

- zone of administration premises;

- zone of rooms for cultural and mass work;

- kernel level which incorporates all services associated with the reading: subscriptions, reading rooms, adult and children's departments which are grouped round one chair where reception and record of new readers is conducted, are given and accepted books. This scheme allows to distribute correctly movement of reader's and book streams, ways of movement of the personnel. The department becomes library heart.

Besides the main functional rooms modern library as the public cultural center, contains a set of rooms for the organizations of mass culture works and actions. All activities are divided into two main groups: exhibitions (view); lectures and conferences (listen to). At the junction of two major groups of these events raises many different opportunities: lecture with slide presentations and films, a tour through the exhibition. Such actions require an active participation of the audience and develop into creative activity. For librarians is a transition from the simple sharing of information to library introduction in the social and cultural field. As for the building of the public centre, strategy of its passive influence is replaced by strategy of its active participation. Within the center walls take place different activities to which various groups of the population are attracted find to themselves a place. These mobile showrooms, museum piece, mediatheques/hybrid libraries (for listening music), spaces for circles and group sessions, conference room and film screenings, children's game store. Spaces of these rooms are interconnected and are mobile changeable for preservation of relevance and convenience of organizing events.

The critical engineering issues of modern library are: lighting, ventilation, air-conditioning, fire safety, energy consumption and savings, and many other engineering issues. The most famous example of a clear architectural lighting solutions is the municipal library in Vyborg, built by Alvar Aalto. In this project, Aalto got a comfortable environment, developed a system of shadowless lamp to uniform illumination by dint of a funnel-lamp ceiling light. Also an excellent example of simultaneous solutions to engineering and architectural issues is the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers. In order to incorporate and maximize color perception of three-dimensional compositions, the architects made a very unexpected decision: all internal space is exempted from the technical equipment. It is made in the system from 4 external pipelines and each subsystem has its color. The blue - for conditioning, green - for water supply, yellow - for the power supply network, red - for elevators, safety, also including fire-prevention. Communications, engineering support occupy 3 floors.

In this way, we see that for the last three-four decades the image of public library undergone substantial adjustment. Has changed not only the processing equipment, data carriers - changed understanding of the word library. From the storage with limited access, the library turned into the public cultural center, a leisure and education venue. Also architectural shape alternated - architects began to pay more attention to the side as the functional spaces and complex interactions, and figuratively-semiotic. The library acquired a "face".

Libraries strive to become one of the main elements of the cultural life of the community and, consequently, a center of culture, public life and education for the population.

Chapter 3 In search of an ideal library

Based on the above studies, the main trends of development and morphological changes in the architectural planning structure of library building will try to define the broad contours of how the modern library or literary/ 'infocentre' will look in the near future.

The main space of the building of informational centre and the first floor has to a courtyard - atrium. From the entrance the visitor gets to the central lobby - it sends visitors to different thematic blocks into which the information center is splitted. There should be a block of the cloakrooms and toilets. In a block will be allocated the bookstore and cafe of a fast food with autonomous entrances to them outside and possibility of the message with the central lobby. The thematic museum or other showroom, exhibition gallery has to be directly connected/linked with the central lobby. Such arrangement allows to form/create accurately expressed public and functional kernel as a part of building volume. On the ground floor of the building can be placed the "Publishing Center", but with the separate entrance which has been taken out from volume of the building of the center for noise protection. On the ground floor or on basement floor should be the delivery with a platform for sorting books and direct access to the main book depository. In the atrium space are concentrated the communication knots: elevators and staircases connecting the first floor.

On the first floor have priority reading rooms and other facilities of an educational focus. In the central part of the plan of the first floor is better to position the hall of the department lending books and control. On chair all main functions concentrate: issues receptions of books, records of visitors, control. The hall has to be connected directly with the main book-depository. Directly to the department it is better to have a computer databases with bibliographic device and methodical service. Computer databases will be available both to library employees and visitors. On the first floor it is necessary to provide a conference room for social events: presentations, conferences and seminars with the ability to view video materials. The main premises of information center have to be directly connected with it: media resource block and the main reading room.

Media resource room should be in terms of the extended form, in order to decentralize jobs hierarchically divided into thematic subgroups and to minimize interference with the activities of the various sources of noise and other distracting factors. Workplaces should include a hierarchy of subgroups: searchable databases; places for group occupations; place "express seats class" (a short orientation session no more than 1:0); isolated places-cabins for long individual sessions (located in the back of the room). It is desirable that all three rooms revelaed in the atrium.

It is more preferable to place reading rooms in a separate unit or a building wing for the best remoteness from sources of noise and other distracting factors. Among the reading room should be identified: area for periodicals; one or more reading rooms for kids with a method-office, game store and class rooms. The main reading room will be shared as well as media resource room, hierarchically into several sectors and to have repeating principle of the "extended" plan. At the beginning of the hall will be located an encyclopedic reference sector with a computer database and the sector of popular literature reference introductory and fact-finding character, further sector of group lessons. In the center of the hall - helpdesk for bibliographical search and control. At the end of a hall it is better to place the popular fiction sector equipped with outputs for a summer terrace to read outdoors. Out the reading rooms can be equipped with exits to a summer terrace for reading in the open air. Summing up, it should be noted that in this short review we considered only the general principles of creation the building an information center, without assuming the presence of limiting factors.


Beyond the existing old-age traditions and known of libraries already realized in huge set buildings, before modern architects still lies an undeveloped/untapped space of the new emerging building type. Its development - design, first of all, has to be based on the solution of the functional scheme - planning zoning. Other factors of design are important also: semiotic harmonization of architectural solutions, building in the urban structure of "fabric" and many others. Part of these principles are already reflected in projects of information centers and public libraries of the last years, others are just designated as theoretical "problems". Both those, and others constantly change in space of a universal information field together with the requirements shown to the building of library. This article is the first step in the development of a new type of public building, its future development. The emergence of publications in the periodic architectural press and a set of architectural competitions indicate demand, the need to examine the issue more profoundly, to lack of a holistic view. An attempt to build a theoretical model enables more detailed and at the same time, generally, provide the necessary requirements, principles of construction of this type of building. Subsequently, to be able to develop the topic on the basis of the findings and translate those models in the future: in doctrine, in new projects.

Transition to/Moving into the new millennium marked a qualitative change in the scientific and technological arsenal and universal information and, as a consequence, rethinking and revision of established norms and rules in the area of public and scientific life. Tremendous progress in the field of social communications and information technology in the early 21st century has had an important impact on the understanding of the role and place of libraries in educational, socio-cultural field as a separate individual, and society as a whole.

The focus of today's designer is not the place to store books, but visitors and library staff, their psycho-physical comfort and search for innovative ways to meet the increasing information and cultural needs. Ekaterina U. Genieva remarked that modern library must fit in "the context of the society." Furthermore, in her opinion, "the new library buildings should become more functional and focused on living and changing human needs. First of all, this means the change of "the coordinate system" in design practice, the transition of building-mentor to building - friend, from a strict disciplinary environment - to a partnership system, from the rigid, often confusing layout - to the mobile space for free communication. Figure below shows the possible methods and the results of implementation of the identified changes.

The methods and results of changing the concept of the library (Picture)

The above qualitative changes in redefining the role, function and social value of library require a broader understanding of the contextual environment into which to fit the building. Working with the context in this case is not limited to the examining only the urban situation, an important point in the design of the library is the consideration of the specific target group (children's library, adult, interschool, industrial, university, for disabled people or other groups with limited mobility, specialized in fields of knowledge, etc.). Such specification imposes severe constraints on space-planning structure, communication links, functional saturation of the building.

Intellectual potential, available at each library requires for its implementation. Apparently that the solution of this problem lies in a well-crafted, thin and verified "intellectual" architecture capable flexibly to react at changing conditions in all spheres of life, to absorb in itself the latest technological achievements. Rem Koolhas notes that "the modern library, must transform itself into an information storehouse aggressively orchestrating the coexistence of all available technologies", approaching thereby with such concept as "science and technology park". However in this article "intellectual" the architecture means not only and not so much as an automated and computerized building and above all, as a figurative, semantic embodiment, as architectural recycling ideas of technological and administrative improvements.

*At the moment, around the world there are new libraries, one way or another, take account of modern information technology, but there is no clear understanding of the structure of the modern library, new definitions of its species, and thoroughly thought-out architectural solutions of information space but thus there is no clear understanding of structure of modern library, definitions of its new types, and comprehensively thought over architectural concepts of information space. Respectively, the architect needs to develop the basic principles, definitions and guidelines for designing such a space. Thus it is necessary to consider uniqueness of library among other public buildings. It carries enormous cultural importance, is one of the last strongholds of traditional values and at the same time, bears the most advanced thoughts and ideas. Also uniqueness of library - in its publicity, it includes the visitor in a global free flow of information.

To attract visitors, stimulation of communication between them in almost every modern library building projects tend to combine the functions of a museum, a theatre (movie theater) and the library in the same building. It turns out the peculiar center of culture and education. So, now in libraries arises the opportunity not only to receive information, but to work with it also. From hard-to-reach storage for visitor information library transforms into an object, inside of which is knowledge generation, creation of information products and services. Is changing the very essence of library, and considering this, the architect develops new types of spaces in the building: exhibition areas (under different kinds of works of art), lecture halls, an auditorium, training rooms, rest rooms, music rooms and studios, platforms for carrying out various displays, accommodation installations (different sizes, forms), rooms for individual tutorials and many other facilities. In France such type of building is called 'médiathèque' or hybrid library, although the original library is an electronic information centre, existing only in cyberspace and multimedia disks. It includes an electronic catalogue (also accessible in catalogues of libraries around the world) and a collection of publications of all types of multimedia-text information, music, video, and animation. On the basis of structure of the centre is a new genre of building - telecommunication and information hub, warehouse of multimedia resources. The architect develops further such media warehouse, which possesses unique versatility as it can be transformed into other functional standards of spaces and may be the most complete expression of the principles of flexible planning.

The main type of library buildings will be a mediatheque, which will be defined as the center of concentration of all types of information, space where all types of works with information are presented evenly. Today it is possible to distinguish Seattle Library (OMA + LMN)from the other constructed libraries in the area, Sendai Mediatheque (Toyo Ito), The National Library of Belarus (M.K.Vinogradov, V.V.Kramarenko) is also interesting. At the organization of similar libraries and inclusion in their structure of computer halls development of workplaces, conditions of lighting, space zoning, calculation of the necessary area is necessary. According to international experience, a similar expansion, about 50% of the area is required as placement of personal computers, and also big and average computers as for purely library needs (electronic libraries, catalogs, the organization of powerful server pools), and for the organization of work of engineering systems, it is also necessary to place the equipment for restoration, a reprography, microfilming and digitization of documents.

The mediatheque concept for can act as the offer on spatially construction as the elastic media cover representing reflection of information stream, various receptions - projection of images on buildings, lighting, unique constructive systems, fractal geometry, tectonics of multidirectional gravitation respectively can be used. Thus the traditional system of four facades is lost, but there is an opportunity to create the sculptural and geometrical symbol of electronic era reflecting the prompt information streams. Development of library space has to be continued with flexible universal planning where one functional area flows into another and any of them can be exposed to any mobile changes. It is required to organize functional streams in the building, ways of movement of visitors, staff, transport, information. Differentiation of spaces has to be made in connection with requirements of various groups of users (by social criterion, age, a nationality, physical opportunities). It is necessary to develop an optimal compact form of storage, to define its best location.

As a proposal to build a three-dimensional spatial concept, mediatheque can serve as elastic media shell, which is a reflection of information flow, different techniques can be used respectively - projecting images on buildings, lighting, unique design system, fractal geometry, tectonics of back and forth gravitacij.




According to typological hierarchy of architecture and its characteristics, we will review some specific examples of realization of library buildings in practice. It is necessary to consider that quite often there are cases when several typological features of the building can be attributed at once to several/multiple types of classification. A similar combination becomes possible as a result of the account designers of a number of special social requirements in the design of each individual building. This leads that verge of classification are erased.

An example of multifunctional library agglomerate/of sinter is the complex of the new Alexandria library which has combined the functions of the central public city and University libraries. This particular/exclusive architectural concept has been developed as a result of international competition. The architecture of the main building of the complex makes it to stand out from a surrounding urban terrain and makes the dominant, central element. (Fig. 2, 3)


The complex is located in east harbor of the Alexandria Bay and consists of three parts: The center of conference, construction of the 60th years of the last century, the spherical building of planetarium and the main case - the library building. The main case includes a reading room, the administrative block, conference rooms and exhibition platforms. The complex is integrated by the general podium in which some exhibition and museum halls and an automobile parking are placed. [1.1] Authors of the project the foot bridge which "strings" on a uniform composite axis educational cases of the Alexandria University in the southeast, the case of new library on the one hand and the Conference hall with another reflected, the planetarium and connects a complex with the embankment of the Alexandria bay.

The complex as a new element of the urban 'fabric', brought together a fractured/disparate building of several blocks in a unified cultural and educational complex and became its core. The complex is located in the Eastern harbor of Alexandria Bay and consists of three parts: the Conference Center, buildings of '60 of the last century, spherical planetarium building and main building - the building of the library. The main building includes a reading room, an administrative block, conference rooms and exhibition areas. The complex integrated common platform that hosts several exhibition and museum halls and car parking. The project was conceived by a footbridge that stringing on a single compositional axis of educational buildings of the Alexandria University in the southeast, building of a new library on the one hand and a conference hall on the other, planetarium that connects the complex with the seaside of Alexandria Bay.

With its close proximity to the university, direct pedestrian links and special functional saturation, the library possesses a number of characteristic features that are traceable to three types of classification. But the library has a large book depository, has a multifunctional reading room with open access to a large number of materials of all fields of knowledge, has a museum and exhibition block in structure and thus has the characteristics related to the 1 and 2 types of classification. The complex is a hybrid of all types of library buildings. This tendency is likely to continue and will evolve in the future, which will lead ultimately to the emergence of a new functional type.

A striking example of the Central Public Library is a new complex of the National Library of France in Paris. This is a library of information- analytical centre of international level that reflects the national ambitions of the French people and embodies the latest technical achievements. From the architectural point of view is a powerful site in the urban fabric, which initiated and became the basis for the reconstruction of a historic district of the metropolis/megalopolis.

The complex is four glass towers-book depository, United 6-storey podium, which hosts reading rooms and administration block. [2.1] [2.2] Podium forms a closed ring, which formed a courtyard with a fleet of ship channel.

The complex represents four glass towers - depository block, stacks combined a 6-storeyed podium in which are located the reading rooms and the administrative block. [2.1] [2.2] Podium forms a closed ring, which is assembled a forest courtyard of pines in the centre.


Composite and architectural solutions of a complex represent the general ideology of a complex -"library-archive". Strict, deprived parts of laconic volumes of glass the towers and monolithic podium symbolize the nature of the inaccessible and monumental storage. This semiotic image reflects functional filling of the complex, designed primarily for work in international library systems throughout the global world information field. Public, custom part is of secondary importance, is not focused on accessibility, which relates to the classification of type 1.

The cultural centre Georges Pompidou in Paris entirely expresses idea of the individual, incomparable building for city library. The facade of the center is crossed on a diagonal by the huge glazed escalator. [3.1] Architects, taking into account prompt changes of modern technologies, considered inexpedient to hide engineering communications into the building. In order to unload the internal space, all communication systems are handed out in the form of huge pipes with the color-coded (blue pipes - air conditioning, green -water supply system, yellow - electricity, red -elevators, escalators and passenger elevators). The whole building is a huge colorful abstract sculpture subordinated to strict functional logic. In addition to library the in the building are housed exhibition areas, a few small cinema, shops, cafes and the administrative block. The three top floors are occupied with the National Museum of Modern Art and exhibition areas. The library is placed on 2 and 3 floors.



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