Seattle library rivals Space Needle

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    By Jennilyn Bylund

    An 11-story glass structure opened its doors Sunday morning in downtown Seattle may rival the Space Needle as a civic symbol.

    Although the new $165 million Central Library is a site to see, it was not the original intentions of the library to build such a noteworthy building.

    “We were looking to build a functional library and the fact that it ended up being architecturally significant is because we hired the right architect,” said Deborah L. Jacobs, city librarian.

    Jacobs said she”s very excited about the new library, but her emphasis is still concentrated on what libraries are for.

    “My mission was to have a very functional user-oriented library,” she said.

    Sandy Tidwell, general reference librarian at BYU, said that she thinks a functional library consists of a combination of things.

    “A good functional library includes a good collection, personnel to help patrons friend information and useful online resources so they can independently find what they would like,” Tidwell said.

    Marilyn Sheck, director of information technology, said one of the new technological advances used in the Central Library will be the Radio Frequency Identifiers (RFID). The RFID”s are small antenna”s that house microchips, which store the barcodes of the materials. They changed the regular barcodes because the RFID can be read through stacks of books instead of item by item.

    The RFID will also be used in conjunction with the automated materials handling system the library has developed.

    Despite all of the technology advancements within the library, Sheck thinks one of the main attractions will be the “book spiral.” Sheck describes the book spiral as a square spiral in the center of the building that starts on the sixth floor and slowly slopes upward and extends to the 10 floor based on the dewy decimal system.

    “The idea of the book spiral itself is just so radical and so unique, and I don”t believe there is another library in the world that has this,” Sheck This means our library can grow overtime.”

    The library currently has approximately one million items and has the capacity to grow up to 1.5 million without adding any shelves Sheck said.

    The opening of the library will take place Sunday at 11:00am. Jacobs said with the excitement of the people there will be very little in way of festivities. She said there will be 15 minutes of drum rolls, 10 minute of speaking, and the mayor along with contest winners will open up the doors.

    Jacob said she anticipates a big crowd on Sunday morning and is excited to finally be able to open the doors to the public.

    “I think our city is big enough to have many symbols but I”m proud that the library is considered such an icon. Because it sure is for me,” she said.

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