Friday, September 14, 2007
Be still my beating heart
This website came to my attention via one of the listserves I subscribe to. This website features pictures of some of the world's most beautiful libraries. Melbourne library nerds will no doubt be very heartened to see that the State Library of Victoria, with its magnificently restored domed reading room, made the list. Maybe one day I'll get to work in a library as elaborately designed as those on this site. This isn't very likely, at least not in my particular branch of librarianship, but I'm allowed to dream, aren't I? In a design philosophy which seems partially influenced by the Panopticon, which was devised in the late 18th century by English philosopher Jeremy Bentham, I particularly like the idea of a circular shaped library building, with an elevated service desk located in the middle. Used widely in prisons, the idea of the Panopticon was to regulate the conduct of inmates by creating the illusion that they were under constant surveillance from a guard post. With the addition of survelliance cameras, this would be ideal for supervising patron activity, and minimising collection security issues. Creating a climate of paranoia would be the ideal theft deterrant.