Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Branding myself...

In Thing 3 we are asked to think about our "personal brand". It is still not a concept I'm entirely comfortable with as I tend to think of brands in terms of products rather than people. If pushed, I would say my brand could be defined in terms of the fact I enjoy traveling (hence this Blog's title) and have a keen interest in library design. This is not just in terms of the physical architecture of library buildings but the thinking behind where libraries are located, what services are included, what efforts have been made to make the library sustainable as well as a host of other factors which go towards shaping the overall character of the building. 


During my MSc at City University I visited countless libraries all over Great Britain and was fascinated to see how architects had interpreted just what exactly constitutes a library in the 21st Century. I've started to make a list of some of the libraries which I was particularly impressed by on my travels. These are not always the best designed libraries, architecturally but they are all unique buildings where clearly a lot of attention has been put in to give them a distinct feel which is appropriate for their users. Here (in no particular order) are a few from that list, just to give some idea of the types of interesting ideas that have been put into practice:

The David Wilson Library (University of Leicester)
A good example of sustainable library design. The funky sculptures hanging from the ceiling are also a nice touch. Even the toilets have their own Facebook appreciation society!

Opened by the Manic Street Preachers, no less ("Libraries gave us power..."). It's a bright and colourful building with a lot of fun ideas. I also love the fact they have a massive white grand piano in their main atrium area which anyone can book up and play!

This library is housed inside a bustling shopping centre. It brings in many different careers support services, such as Connexions and offers drop-in advice sessions on employment and learning. The facility is also home to a BFI mediatheque.



Although it didn't look much from the outside, I really liked this library as it provided a real oasis of comfort and commonality in the middle of a rundown council esatate.

As well as all the history behind it, I like the London Library because it's quirky - it has it's very own classification system, as an example, along with some highly eccentric patrons. It is members-only, annoyingly but the likes of Stephen Fry and Bamber Gascoigne have be spotted perusing the seemingly endless shelves (the library never gets rid of a single book). 


To emphasise that this is really just a fairly random selection of the libraries I have visited (it's by no means supposed to be a top 5). I also hope no-one who is from any of these libraries minds me including theirs in this blog post! 

So - not sure why the text seems to have shrunk (grr.. Blogger!) but that's Thing 3 down. Meanwhile I had my first day here on the Allendale Campus yesterday and will try to put something up about my first impressions shortly...

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