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$39.5 Million Hi-Tech Library Opens In Illinois 98

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-your-mother's-library dept.
The new $39.5 million Fountaindale Public Library features: flat-screen TVs, video games, self-checkout stations, a variety of e-readers, and a cafe. Library officials say the new facility is a blueprint for libraries of the future, and will focus on using new technologies. From the article: "The Fountaindale Public Library, with its state-of-the-art, Wi-Fi equipped space, is starkly different from the previous antiquated library, a nearby one-story brick structure built in 1975 that awaits the wrecking ball. Officials are hopeful the new facility attracts a demographic libraries haven't seen in a number of years — young professionals."

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$39.5 Million Hi-Tech Library Opens In Illinois

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 08, 2011 @04:41PM (#35423016)
    I can't wait to be a homeless person so I can start hanging out in that library!
  • They'll keep a few print books in the back as museum specimens.
  • Is there really much point to non-collegiate / scholastic libraries in 2011? It seems like most non-print resources are available at home.

    • Re:libraries (Score:5, Informative)

      by mcspoo (933106) on Tuesday March 08, 2011 @04:56PM (#35423194) Homepage
      As one who works in a library, my response is more than likely to be prejudiced...

      Part of why we need libraries is a total failure of informational literacy. Many of the people we see today have no clue how to tell the difference between REAL and NOT REAL (hence, people who think World News Digest or Fox News are "real": they lack the skill set to determine what information has value and what does not.)

      Libraries are also tremendous community and learning centers. We're really the center of democracy and freedom. We aid the local schools, the senior centers, the youth assistance groups, and provide training and access to job searching. A community without a Library is a community without a heart: it will wither, suffer and die.

      Maybe one day a level of informational literacy will exist. Maybe one day it'll be taught in schools, from Pre-School through College/University. That day is not today, and not likely in this century. Modern Librarians are experts on finding information, and making sure it's good information.

      Need to know more? Look up multiple resources on Informational Literacy. Just for an example: http://tln.lib.mi.us/searchpath/ [lib.mi.us]

      • Let me guess; you erroneously suppose MSNBC to be a real news channel?
        • by mcspoo (933106)
          Really? For everything in that post, you focused on the Fox News comment?

          To clarify: Informational Literacy means ALL SOURCES. Currently, many news sources are guilty of reporting OPINION as NEWS. Fox News is extremely fond of this. MSNBC is as well.

          Thank you for playing "let's miss the point entirely"

    • Is there really much point to non-collegiate / scholastic libraries in 2011? It seems like most non-print resources are available at home.

      I was thinking the same thing. Sadly, the last time I went to a library a sizable number of the visitors were homeless. I suppose they enjoy surfing the web and playing video games as much as the rest of us.

      • by anyGould (1295481)

        Also, because a library is one of the last places where Everyone Is Equal. So long as you're well behaved, a library doesn't care who you are. Which is how it should be.

        A favorite story of mine is a library system that tried to fix their "homeless problem", and so added rules prohibiting sleeping. Which lasted until the librarians kicked out a wealthier patron who was caught catnapping in one of the chairs. The rule was quickly revoked...

        • I used to get annoyed by this homeless dude in the San Francisco public library at the Civic Center who would sit muttering to himself out loud constantly.

          Equally annoying was the nicely dressed guy having an argument with his bank over his cellphone at the top of his lungs.

          Moral: Homeless people haven't cornered the market on bad or annoying behaviour.

    • by vlm (69642)

      Read all the monthly magazines you want, for free, in comfy chairs. The problem is most monthly magazines are not worth reading. They used to be, when I was a kid, or so it seemed. Remember the glory days of Scientific American?

      Even the smallest most pitiful library has better genealogical resources than the best free online sites. Now if you're willing to cough up $150/yr you can get better access at home, but you may as well exhaust your free local library first.

      Local collections. All my hometown new

    • Print resources.
  • Maybe they'll be like the RCL (sp? the VFW equivalents that are like clubs for each city) in Australia because as much as I like coffee and gay boys I'm just not a fan of having to go to Starbucks as a place to concentrate.

    That and my local library is in a township which is not up to par at all.

  • Apparently they got that whole budget / bankrupt thing handled

  • by joe 155 (937621) on Tuesday March 08, 2011 @04:51PM (#35423150) Journal

    Don't get me wrong, I like libraries. I use them fairly frequently too, actually. But the single biggest factor for me about a library is the number and quality of books. Wi-Fi is nice, though I have mobile internet with me most of the time anyway. Plasma screens usually just relay simple info that could be covered by a sign.

    I don't want to disparage technology - but it's much less important than the books (and good chairs...).

    Is it now time to get off your lawn?

    • by Ephemeriis (315124) on Tuesday March 08, 2011 @05:02PM (#35423268)

      The question is, essentially, "what is a library?"

      Is it purely a book repository?

      Or is it more of a cultural or information repository?

      Because a good chunk of our culture and information these days is never printed out in a book.

      • Even if you define a library as a culture and information repository, this library fails that test - because it's an internet access point, not a repository. A repository holds and conserves physical objects or digital data, this library does not.

        • Even if you define a library as a culture and information repository, this library fails that test - because it's an internet access point, not a repository. A repository holds and conserves physical objects or digital data, this library does not.

          I didn't read the fine article... But from the summary I was under the impression that the library consisted of more than a giant wireless access point. I thought it contained flat-screen TVs, video games, and a variety of e-readers.

          And while it is true that these may all be provided on a bring-your-own-content basis... I had kind of assumed that the library would contain media to be used with those devices.

  • by metrometro (1092237) on Tuesday March 08, 2011 @04:53PM (#35423166)

    Flat screen TVs? Self-checkout? That makes it as sophisticated as... every grocery store in Bollingbrook.

    That said, I think the reinvention of libraries from a book-storage facility to a community space devoted to being a platform for self education, ad hoc business, and community organizing is awesome. That, not the inclusion of teevee, is the point worth noting here.

  • What a money dump (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Shompol (1690084)
    "blueprint for libraries of the future"???? How about my home computer as the "libary of the future"? It costs exactly ZERO money to build that, while the convenience factor is sky-high compared to this abomination.

    Ah, what, don't want it to be too convenient? Will infringe on the bookstore business? How about you take the gazillion dollars dumped on this library and award it to writers/e-publishers instead, maybe pro-rated per online interest in their books.

    I frequently feel that the centralized commie ap

  • What I wonder is couldn't they have put something effective together for less than $39 million? It seems like a ton of money. ebooks seem like such a waste too if you need a reader to read them and cost the same as a regular book. Books are easy and you don't need batteries or an e-reader to view them. There is something satisfying about coming home from the library with a stack full of books. Ahhh, I can almost smell that old book smell now.
  • I wonder how they handle extended power outages.

    Do they just close? Do they have a UPS/generator system that will carry them over? Is there a manual system for those who simply want to check out an old-school dead-tree book?
    • by vlm (69642)

      I wonder how they handle extended power outages.

      Do they just close? Do they have a UPS/generator system that will carry them over? Is there a manual system for those who simply want to check out an old-school dead-tree book?

      Businesses lose money during power outages hence exotic UPS and generator schemes.

      Libraries save money during power outages... Especially if they "close for remainder of day" if there is a 15 minute outage at 2pm.

      As far as the manual system goes, I recall several libraries that have no windows... So hand write a checkout slip if you must, but you'll be doing it by flashlight.

  • by starseeker (141897) on Tuesday March 08, 2011 @05:14PM (#35423394) Homepage

    I guess I'm a bit old school when it comes to libraries (nothing better than an old Carnige library building) so I'm a little dubious that televisions and video games should be there - they constitute a distraction from reading and research. On the other hand, it's heartening to hear that money is being put into libraries - they're an important resource. Technology for cataloging and checkout is certainly good, as a library full of books can be quite the resource management challenge.

    I'm a little surprised they're unhappy about not seeing professionals - in my experience as people move to the young professional stage specialization means the local public library isn't likely to have what they need (specialized technical books tend to be a long shot, since only one in 1000 patrons will want it and that one probably would order a newer version through Amazon...). On the other hand, they're GREAT for young kids who will burn through a ton of books on a broad range of topics in short order. They're also good when you get towards retirement and don't need the intense focus demanded by professional careers - wandering into the library and picking up a random book for half a day is more practical then.

    If they want young professionals(why?) they'd have to get a whole bunch of subscriptions (online, if nothing else) to paywall publications that people can't cheaply get at home via the internet. (One of the great things about universities - if you want a random scientific article you can often go online and download it, as opposed to coughing up $30...)

    • One of the great things about universities - if you want a random scientific article you can often go online and download it, as opposed to coughing up $30

      So true.

      • by demonbug (309515)

        One of the great things about universities - if you want a random scientific article you can often go online and download it, as opposed to coughing up $30

        So true.

        Yes. I was very sad when my university finally got around to disabling my access to their proxy that let me read all the journal articles (took something like five years after I left before it stopped working). It really is amazing to me how much journals charge for individual articles. Unfortunately most public libraries don't seem to have subscriptions to many journals, so only those of us lucky enough to be connected to a university or have a really wealthy employer are able to actually read research art

        • Or you can download preprints directly from the author's website.

          Most scientific articles aren't one off, but rather stand together with a body of work by the same author(s) consisting of several articles exploring broadly the same idea.

          If you've found a promising article on a journal website, you can often get the gist of it from a similarly titled paper that the author published somewhere else or keeps on his website. Do yourself a favour and read that first, and you'll probably realize then if getti

          • I've had pretty good luck emailing the first or second author on the paper. Usually I get a pdf or .doc the next day.
  • Want to get young professionals in libraries? Make an area where people can sit in comfy chairs and get a coffee while they read or surf WiFi.

    Libraries could use the extra revenue from coffee shops (heck it can be a local shop, not even a chain). Have several large desks where people can spread out work or homework and work in small groups... again, with coffee.

    You'd be surprised how many more young professionals would spend hours in a library if they can get their caffeine addiction served.
    • by Zorque (894011)

      They did this when they built the new Salt Lake City main library a few years back. Along with some of the small shops in there, it seems to have worked pretty well.

    • by vlm (69642)

      You'd be surprised how many more young professionals would spend hours in a library if they can get their caffeine addiction served.

      They tried that at my local library. Mostly attracted homeless, drunks, and teenagers, whom repelled more young professionals than the coffee attracted.

    • by Dan541 (1032000)

      In otherwords just build a cafe.

  • Is a good model library of the future. All the world's information at my fingertips, with minimal hosting costs and minimal hassle. No need for taxpayer-paid fancy facilities, flat-screen TVs and all that shit. Fix copyright length and it might just become possible!
  • can't help but think of rollerball (with james caan). does anyone remember the library scene where books are being converted into digital format and then accidentally get deleted, forever?
  • why people are upset at government spending... a cafe? video games?

    The library in Orange County, Florida will even deliver books/videos to your house...

    This is beyond ridiculous.

  • by kenh (9056)

    Borders [washingtonpost.com] has TVs now!

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