From a perspective of someone who works with immigrants: they need books in their native languages. They likely do not have Nooks or Kindles. They need staff or volunteers who can talk to them about the Library and the services, space and technology available to them. They need to feel welcome and safe, so that if they patronize the library individually or use it for meetings, they will not encounter barriers or consequences. The requirements for getting a library card may be a concern.
The building should present a friendlier face to 36th Ave so that the front seems more like a town square than a sulking giant with its back to the city. There should be a bus pullout, bike racks, a large patio with benches or a low wall surrounding it, and a few broad steps to an obvious and inviting entrance. Walkers, people taking the bus, and bicyclists should be given the privilege of not having to walk through a parking lagoon and being able to enter the building quickly and efficiently. If you want to design for the future, design for a future with fewer cars. It is coming. As it is (and this probably can’t be completely fixed) the building is too far from the road making it more closely resemble a technical college in the suburbs than an urban library. Put the cafe on the 36th Ave side, too, and it might actually get enough business from other users that it could expand. Actually, on that note, the lot the library is on is so large there could probably be other business buildings there and the mutual traffic might benefit all. The south side entrance should be redesigned so that people enter on the ground level through an entrance that is not tucked under a brooding overhang where cigarette smoke collects. The “grassy knoll, with an inviting undulating, circular and winding ramp” idea is ridiculous. People don’t actually want to negotiate switchbacks or a ramp to get inside, not to mention the hazards of something like that in the winter. Give them a pleasant space outside to meet and talk, yes, (maybe even buy a lunch or coffee from a cart?), but design for quick access through an entrance that is out in front of the building. I don’t want an “experience” as I approach the building. I just want it to look inviting and for the design to give me a clear indication as to where the door is. Redesign the parking lot so that people can walk on paths that either lead directly through the lot toward the front door or give them quick access to a pathway that leads around the perimeter of the lot. I can’t believe the muddy path along the east side of the lot that leads toward the steps has never been paved! People want to walk to a destination by the straightest path possible, so design for that path and make it pleasant.
Will it ever work again?
In the late 70’s and early 80’s I worked for the architecture firm that was the Municipality’s consultant during the design competition that resulted in the Loussac Library design. Our firm’s principal, was the Municipality’s Contact Person who had many interfaces with MOA reps, as well as many of those who championed the new library and who were the moving force behind the design competition. I have corresponded with my old boss, who has e-mailed me the following suggestion — of which I am sure he has many — for improvement of the library. His e-mail reads, in part:
“If nothing else, the token monumental entry stairs to the second floor main entry need to be rebuilt or made truly accessible [so as not to force]…. the aged, infirm and disabled to use the lower entrance. [I suggest that the library] bring in fill and create a man-made, sculptured, heavily landscaped “grassy knoll”, with an inviting undulating, circular and winding ramp [leading up to the second level plaza fronting the main entrance]. I would populate the grassy knoll with tall mature birch, spruce and other Alaska speciew to soften the environment and take the edge off the heaviness where the cylindrical building elements meet the ground.
The existing main exterior stairs are too steep… . (My Note: The stair treads are not long enough, and the risers too high, for exterior use.)
Another solution might be to “cover” the stair and part of the upper plaza leading to the main entry.
I agree with my friend’s views.
If MOA reps wish to contact my friend personally, please respond to this e-mail and I can provide contact information.
It’s been a disappointment. The library has virtually now material with regard to songbooks and diy music learning materials. These materials have become rare with recent closures in the retail sector.
There isn’t anything about the exterior of the Loussac that lures people in from the street and give the impression that it is a welcoming place where the community can come, share ideas and information, think deep thoughts, read a book to their kids, and make thier life better. I am jealous of the new libraries around the state that fit into the landscape and the community and seem inviting and welcoming. Loussac feels imposing and fortress like. This might be too ambitious for a remodel - but if this truly is once in a generation, wouldn’t it be awesome to have the next generation LOVE the Loussac??!! Can we communicate being both part of Alaska and having rich cultural diversity in a remodel?? That part of town also doesn’t have any community centers where there could be dance performances and potlucks and poetry slams and a way for teenagers to feel welcome…all in one place.
Library of the Future in Plain English - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLelhZHb3G8
Joe & Rika Mansueto Library - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESCxYchCaWI&feature=youtu.be
Digital Public Library of America - http://dp.la/
Libraries of the future documentary - http://www.jisc.ac.uk/librariesofthefuture
Public library of the future spec scenarios - http://vimeo.com/41660831
What is the future of the library? - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asYUI0l6EtE
Joshua Prince-Ramus on Seattle’s library - https://www.ted.com/talks/joshua_prince_ramus_on_seattle_s_library.html
Preserving for the future - http://vote.brooklynpubliclibrary.org/post/2012/05/07/Preserving-for-the-Future.aspx
You might consider putting in a unisex bathroom so that parents with children of the opposite gender can go into the same restroom with them.
I think it’s very important that the tags and shelves are properly labeled for visitors. Loussac, the building, is one of the nicest libraries you can go to but it is one of the most difficult when it comes to the organizations and labeling of books. Every shelf and row needs to be able to tell the visitor in detail what she or he can find in what spot/area. At the same time, a lot of books are not in the category they are supposed to be in - and this is not because of misplacement. We would need a well-thought plan to make the journey of book finding and browsing as easy and inviting as possible. I would love to help with that.
Create a way for people to book the Wilda Marston to perform their own plays. I have plays that I would like to produce myself but don’t have a venue. I’m sure lots of other people would like to do this too.
My suggestion would be to make the library more accessible. I find the long flight of stairs intimidating especially in winter. The alternative is crossing a street and dealing with a slow elevator. All of these reduce my use of the library! The library entrance as is is nether attractive or inviting. I have no idea where the book drop off is even tho I have asked librarians (they are always pleasant and helpful). Having to negotiate so many floors is also time consuming. Having the assembly chambers on the first floor seems ridiculous when it is used only part of the time, and then at night while the library is used by many people every day.
I would suggest you look up the library in Winter Haven, FL which is right in the middle of downtown. It has two entrances, front and back both of which are on the ground floor, have plenty of glass to show what’s inside, and enticing exhibits which can partially be seen from the street. It just cries for you to come in. I hope that any future expansion could correct these deficiencies. Thank you for the chance to provide input, Anne Pasch
I have been a patron of the Z J Loussac library since I was in high school at West AHS, class of ‘61. Over the years, I have been an avid library user. In 2008, I began to be a very regular user of the computers because I didn’t have one at home. Because of the occurrences I am getting ready to discuss, I bought my own computer for home use, but sometimes I come to the library to use the printers or just to have a quiet space I can do my taxes (which require a lot of my attention, with no phone or home responsibilities—the seemingly logical place to get this would be the library). It turns out that the library has gotten noisier and noisier—people talking on cell phones while on the computers with a sign right in front of their faces saying quiet zone and talking everywhere at the tables along the edges and even in the few tables in the middle of the 3rd floor open space where the copiers and printer #1 are.
What is the purpose of the library anyway? What happened to “shhhh” by the librarian? And why isn’t the one space over by the astrology, non-fiction section with the carrels that may be a quiet zone properly marked? Of course, there are no computers there, which is one reason I come to the library. And some kind of big sign as one walks in the door listing the few so-called quiet zones would be so appreciated. I suppose what I am requesting in this open comment period is some kind of computer section/quiet zone. If that is still a goal of the library. I would love to be able to use a computer without the distracting kids with parents using the computers and not paying attention to the kid or cell phone users or whatever inconsiderate/distracting behavior is going on. Something like the Alaskana Collection computers used to be. I have been in the small libraries in Kenai and Soldotna when I have been down that way, and even when they are full of people, it is quiet there. What is the difference? Maybe the number of visits I have made, but maybe a different philosophy.
I am told I can always go to the reference desk, stand in line for who-knows-how-long, and report this stuff, but I am losing computer time when I do this, and why should I have to be the enforcer? Not that it matters, but the first Click, Pick, Give, I gave $100 to the library; the second one, I gave $50; and this one I gave 0. I don’t feel this current library set up works for my main usage of the library, so I might as well donate to other places I feel better about.
I love the library. I donate books. I check out books. I check out CDs. But I don’t spend nearly as much time there nor check out as many books as I used to because of the reasons mentioned above. The library is a huge physical space. There ought to be a place within it where a person could find quiet AND computers. If it’s even a part of the library’s mission statement these days.
I live near the library and love to use it. The fact that the public either has to take an elevator or walk up a long flight of outside stairs makes the library less ” user friendly”. Is it possible to move the meeting room to the 3rd floor and use the main floor for the library? There is no need to knock out walls to do this. The meeting rooms could become specialized book or computer areas.
As someone who moved up here 7 years ago, I have always found it preplexing that at least part of the library is not on the main floor and that the main floor space is for meeting rooms that are not used as often as the library.
I think I have a perspective that needs to be heard. I walk on crutches, and the design committee needs to hear from handicapped people other than those in wheelchairs. Our needs are sometimes quite different.
Please consider change to that section of the library that houses the Alaska Collection by making it into a multi-use area capable of hosting community dialogues. The inner circular area in the lower level of this section is well-suited to dialogues. The upper level circular area could be reconfigured to accommodate break-out groups. This would not require major structural work. Some removal of fixed furniture and reconfiguration of electrical fixtures may be required. The purchase of moveable tables and chairs designed to accommodate facilitated group dialogues would also be suitable for the needs of students and researchers. Improved electrical, internet and audio visual technologies would improve the experience of all users.
Use of the facility to accommodate community dialogues would occur, most often, during evenings and on week-ends. This would be very compatible with present use of the facility for research and study during normal library hours.
I think that the library would be more useful if the existing ground floor is the library’s ground floor; rather than assembly chambers. I have noted many a parent having to walk across an existing road and then go to the single slow elevator to gain access to the first floor of the library. The overwhelming use of the building is library patrons and an upper floor would be more fitting for “dignitaries”and fit a weekly use of the building for city council meetings. I also so not like the road that traverses in front of the library entrance.