Slog - The Stranger's Blog

Line Out

The Music Blog

« The Fabulous Baker Bus | New Poll: Burner Leading Reich... »

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Lost in the Stacks

Posted by on September 6 at 11:44 AM

No doubt, it’s easy to get lost in the Central Library. So SPL has hired a “wayfarer” or “wayfinder” or some such nautical-sounding employee to make some tourist-friendly signs. But will the signs point to the “Mixing Chamber” (a dorky, unrevealing name nobody really uses) or will they adopt more friendly nomenclature? I vote for “This way to the Plastic Tomato Womb.”


CommentsRSS icon

the best thing about that floor, which you can't tell from the photos, is that its the conference room floor and all over the walls is text from "robert's rules of order". brilliant!

i love the tomato womb!

another good use of tax payer dollars...NOT

That place is wearing like a 1970's leisure suit.

The library is WORLD CLASS!!!!! It's just as good as anything in San Francisco!!! Really, it is!!!!! true. if the press in seattle buys the world class hype and passes it on to the great unwashed - it must be true.

What the tomato womb photo looks like to me: a microphone's vista on Charle Mudede singing karaoke in red footlights.

My least favorite feature of the library - the roach motel character of the escalator - patrons go in, but they never leave!! Or rather they are forced to descend in elevator boxes or in the not-meant-for-public stairwell. They should at least reverse the escalator every two hours or so. That could be fun. Reverse the top stage first so that people pile up on the book spiral landing. Noooooo not boooooks!

The Seattle Public Library is the most important new building this millenium. It feels like an airport inside because it's a place for thoughts to take flight.

"The Seattle Public Library is the most important new building this millenium. It feels like an airport inside because it's a place for thoughts to take flight."

If that's what you have to believe...

Obviously you just haven't learned whatever the Central Library is supposed to be teaching us.

How come no one has committed suicide in the library yet? It all but begs people to jump from that diving board.

If we were a world-class city we would have a suicide in the library once a week.

And rapid transit.

If you all hate Seattle so much why did you move here? You are all rich and could afford to live anywhere. Why not move to Paris? Chicago?

Instead of whining about rapid transit, why not move to a city that has it? The West Coast was designed for the automobile. Get over it or move.

Thank you. I love my car, and I love driving. Whining anti-car babies should try complaining in L.A. a city that is totally designed for automobiles. Seattle's a great town but I'm sick of people who always want to feel upset and morally superior. We drive cars, so what? Riding a subway doesn't make you holier-than-thou. I don't care about rapid transit, it's a waste of money.

The question that should be asked is, "Just how much are they paying that new-hire to make signs?" I bet is is more (with bennies too)
than the average writer at the Stranger is receiving....What's your guess, Annie?


Being born here doesn't give you carte blanche to be stupid, but a lot of the natives seem to think it does.

Sell your houses, take your profit (which you deserve) and move to Spokane. You'll feel much more at home there.

It said $45,000 in the paper the other day.

This is so typical: big-shot architect + whiny nickel-and-diming client = stylish building that's impossible to use. NO SIGNS! That's just...typical. Architects don't believe in signs, they ruin the lines. Much better to guide them with symbolism, though whether the symbolism works is immaterial, since neither Koolhaas nor the top library brass have been near a book in decades.

Here are the hours for the downtown

Monday: 10 am - 8 pm
Tuesday: 10 am - 8 pm
Wednesday: 10 am - 8 pm
Thursday: 10 am - 8 pm
Friday: 10 am - 6 pm
Saturday: 10 am - 6 pm
Sunday: 12 pm - 6 pm

Not particularly user friendly.
The joint isn't open long enough
on a daily basis for one to commit
a decent suicide.

However the SLB has the funds to
finance $45,000 for a position to
create signage? How much was spent
last year adding to the collection?
Not much, I suspect.

Classic Seattle....all show and no
GD substance.


The square "couch things" on the top floor have holes in the fabric and they feel cheap when you sit on them - like Ikea foam cushion cheap. Some of the arms are permanently nasty from nasty heads sleeping there. The dewey decimals in the floor in some of the stacks are wearing badly from foot traffic, the elevator interiors invite the kind of vandalism that is difficult to repair (namely scratches on shiny metal surfaces), the yellow escalators seem constantly in need of cleaning, the effect of the beautiful embossed floor in the checkout area is ruined by a coat of black shoe marks... it's sad how something so expensive can feel so crappy. I like the building itself, the outside is nifty - slanty walls of diamond shapes and whatnot - but the interior decorative decisions look like they were made at the last minute and with way too few dollars. The Central Library to me seems like a cool concept largely executed badly. I forgive them because they somehow managed to figure out how to store 1.45 million books there. It's about the books anyway, right?

And yeah, what Jensen said. The hours suck. But if you have a laptop, you can jump on their free wifi network outside the building while sitting on the benches near the main entrance. But yeah, the hours suck.

I was really slow to warm up to the new library. I'm still on the fence about the look of the outside, but I LOVE the inside. While in some respects it may make a better modern art museum, it remains a fantastic library. User friendly for the most part and endlessly intriguing. I just visited the brand new downtown library in Minneapolis and that building by comparison is as appealing as a shoe box. It’s almost institutional. Our downtown branch has raised the bar for what a public library can be. My MN friends who've visited here couldn't agree more.

my ex, a library employee refers to the heretofore christened "tomato womb" as "satan's vagina." tomato/satan-o?

Do we really need a $45K sign-maker? Couldn't you just run an existing staffer over to said lost person and ask, "May I help you?" Or maybe just post regular signs pointing to and from the book stacks. All you need is Photoshop and some 2'x3' foam core pieces, along with someone to run and get the files from Kinko's: BOOM, done.

Oh wait, that wouldn't allow the city to needlessly waste money. Right.

Also, the Central Library is indeed top fucking shelf (pun intended?).

I still say it's world class. And prettier than anything in San Francisco.

That San Francisco really frosts my onion. Why does our Federal Reserve have to be a branch of the San Francisco Federal Reserve?!?!?! It's not fair!!!!!

I have just as many homosexuals as San Francisco, and I bet you my Macy's is just as big.

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 45 days old).