Today’s post come from ILN’s Country Coordinator for China, Dave Lyons.
National Geographic recently featured a great photo of the National Library in Beijing.
Why do you like this library and what are some of your favourite features?
It’s a nice space – I actually shot a quick video with my phone there (hence the poor sound quality, plus I had to keep my voice down) to introduce a paper for an International Librarianship course during my MLIS program at Rutgers. According to the architects, it’s the third largest library in the world.
Some features I like:
- If you are a Chinese citizen, there are machines that dispense library cards if you have your national ID.
- They have a very liberal and affordable photocopying service in the foreign language section (no page limits).
- The main atrium, despite or perhaps because of its powerful acoustics, is a surprisingly quiet place in a noisy city.
- The designers intentionally gave it a moat. Moats deserve to make a comeback in modern architecture.
If you could ask the designers of this space any question, what would it be?
- How did you approach issues of silence and acoustics, especially since the building is dominated by a huge echo chamber?
- Did you approach the building as a replacement or a complement to the old library building, which continues to be closed for renovation?
- What creature did you hope to place in the moat?