Traditional or Modern: What’s your library style preference?

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Photo Credit: Mike Sinclair

In movies, TV shows and books, libraries are mostly portrayed as old brick-style buildings full of history and the odd dusty shelf of books. Should all libraries be built in this traditional style, or does a modern and fun design do more to encourage reading of books in this era of technology? The Kansas City Public Library in Missouri chose to go the modern route, and in 2004 they created an amazing building of books.

 Photo Credit: Dimensional Innovation

Known as the Community Bookshelf, the striking mural runs along a wall of the Central Library’s parking garage in downtown Kansas City. According to their website, each book spine is crafted from signboard mylar and measures approximately 25 feet by 9 feet. There are 22 different titles showcased.

Photo Credit: Dimensional Innovation

Photo Credit: Dimensional Innovation

During the design process local residents were asked to suggest a list of their reading interests, and the final titles were selected by a board of trustees. Many famous authors and titles are displayed on the Community Bookshelf including The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Two authors from our Embellished Manuscripts Collection – William Shakespeare and Mark Twain – have also been included.

Photo Credit: Mike Sinclair

What do you think? Would you like to see your local library take inspiration from the Kansas City Community Bookshelf, or do you prefer a traditional brick building found in many cities and towns throughout the world?

Click here for more information on the Kansas City Public Library and their community bookshelf.

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2 comments on “Traditional or Modern: What’s your library style preference?

  1. During my studies I had to go to several libraries in Paris: French National Library, a very modern building in Paris South East, Sainte-Barbe Library, near the “Latin District”, or the Library of la Sorbonne, a big ancient room with long tables and little lamps, the library of the Institute for French and German History – a modern library in an old building near Le Marais. Although I got something with old traditional library, adorned with dark-wooded storages and full of history, I have to admit that I recently begun to appreciate more modern library… Indeed, after several years studying, reading books and taking notes, I learnt that most important of all as you’re working or enjoying an interesting book is… COMFORT! In terms of comfort, modern libraries win… although traditional ones are in my opinion, a lot more inspiring!

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