Sunday, April 25, 2010

Parliament National Library

Parliament Library

Georgia has a complex of national library buildings. We were given whirlwind tour by its director, Boris Gagua. Boris is a remarkable library administrator. He is not a librarian by training yet he is directing the renovation of three huge buildings, former bank buildings in Soviet times, that now serve the nation as a national library. This is a project of huge proportions as the buildings are huge and architecturally significant.

The elaborate decorations in this place were phenomenal.

There many interesting contrasts. For example, stacks are not open. To get a book, one must hunt up the title using an old card catalogue system. We even saw how in one building they used an old conveyer cable to transport a requested book from one building to another. You can see this box like thing suspended from a chain. Books are taken from the stacks to a checkout desk via this conveyance. I remember an old lumber store in Vermont where one would pay for building supplies at one point and have the money transported via a pneumatic tube to an upstairs office. Similar. Cold in January I think.

At the same time, this library has some of the most modern meeting rooms I have seen. I wished I had know about these before as I would far prefer to have met my seminar in a room where the plastic chairs don't collapse and clatter to the untreated parquet floor.

The photo above is of one of these rooms were people were setting up for a conference on children's books. Neat place. Clean. Well lit. Ample space. All kinds of equipment. What every self-respecting university must want.

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