One of the first on the to do list was to visit the Stockholm Stadsbibliotek.  We ride our bikes there. Despite being a short distance the streets were packed with people and the bike lanes were not as good as Poland (well at least what we saw at the beginning of our time there). 

The library is a very impressive structure for being built in 1928.

Stockholm Public Library

Stockholm Public Library

Although, they do appear to make money from people using the toilets. Can’t say I had thought about that from of income stream myself. However given it’s on the list of places to visit I probably shouldn’t be surprised.  But I will give them credit, as it was very easy to use!

Stockholm Public Library

The collection did have some amazingly old books- found one from 1957… perhaps a good weed is in order.

Stockholm Public Library

Stockholm Public Library

Stockholm Public Library

What’s a State Library for

Sitting in the Brandon Free Public Library catching up on local news. The are a couple articles about libraries, one about asbestos removal in Rockingham, and value of State Libraries in the Wall Street Journal. I swear I’m not looking for these articles! The Wall Street one is worth a read – as it talks about the radical changes to the New York Public Library as it is made more user friendly and accessible to change with the needs of the time. With this in mind what is our State Library in SA for…?

Wall Street Journal


Rockingham Free Library


Spending time at Sendai Mediatheque

Sendai Media Tech, originally uploaded by Helen K.

Believe it or not we accidently came across the Sendai Mediatheque (aka a Public Library), and a modern slick one at that. We had been up to see the remains of the Sendai Castle, which has a lovely view over the city. We were on the Loople (yes that is the corect term), which was at crush capcity, to get back to the city. I had managed to get a seat and was nodding off (yes being a tourist is hard work), when Kym said lets get off. He had spotted the name of the Library from the map, and it reminded him what the French call their public libraries.

What a fantastic buidling. It is seven floors of light and activity – and on a Sunday too! The ground floor was featuring a number of young musicians, and people selling knitted and wooven items, a shop and a cafe. Yes we did have a drink and cake at the end of looking around.

While the building is square there are several large light wells from the top of the building that carries light down. The front of each floor has ceiling to floor glass ( not all clear) for the space to be well lit.

The second floor is for computer access and general quiet reading space in front of the windows, AV area (yes they still had video tapes, but not many), and a kids area. The kids area was defined by silver curtains. The thir floor was fiction and non fiction materials, magazines, and lots of study space on seats against the walls or tables. There was a third mezzanine floor, which had a queue of 20-30 people waiting for information assistance, and reference material. The floors above were dedicated art space, movie space, and a meeting space and performance space. Wow.. what a fantastic building. There wasn’t suppose to be any taking of photos, but I ignored the sign – as I could see a few other people were too. My photos don’t do the space justice. If you are ever in Sendai, I highly recommend you check it out!

Visiting a library in China…

Checking out, originally uploaded by Helen K.

I know that you are all wondering if we visited a library while in China. Well…. yes we did. If you just want to wander around library in Shanghai, like we do in Australia, well you can’t.

We managed to visit the Shanghai Library which is a very large building with a number of floors, in the french concession quarter. To visit any of the rooms, you really need to have a “Reader’s card”. However, to be frank I really didn’t want to attempt to even explain to the people at the application counter, all I wanted to do was wander around and take a couple of photos, and we were short of time, so I will admit that we didn’t even attempt participating in the red tape process.

However, after we put our bags through the security check and into a locker, we did manage to get into the chinese books section , which also lead into the library shop. We ignored the “insert reader’s card” sign and two staff sitting at the entry (people on the door had no english – one for us!). There were lots of books in Chinese. I’m sure they were good, but the covers were unappealing and had very few pictures.

Each section had its own check out area, which was staffed by a lot of people. There were more than you can see in the photo.

The Library shop, was not your ordinary library shop. It sold nothing to do with libraries, but books about China (in chinese of course), plates, paintings, books, traditional CD’s, and tourist books about China. Surprisingly Kym bought one, as the map was better than the one we were using.

The lack of language is certainly a barrier when on holidays in China and Japan when searching for libraries!