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Seating - Lounge Chairs with Tables at Cafe | by Wootang01
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Seating - Lounge Chairs with Tables at Cafe

I learned a lot this afternoon from simply asking library staff if I could take some photos in the library. First of all, that no one whom I initially asked knew the answer to my question suggests that not many people take photos in the library, for whatever reason, for which reason the staff did not know whether or not I could take photos. Second, that the more I asked around, the more my question crept quietly up the chain of command, until at length the director of the library was asked, when she walked onto the premises after lunch, suggests that there is a centralized command in the library; in that regard, this institution is not organized in a similar manner to the way by which HKU is organized. Finally, that nobody knew the answer but rather than assume authority deferred to the director's discretion suggests that there are very few change agents, if any at all, in this institution. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, however, because this organization likely doesn't have to deal with major change at the moment: the best course of action is plodding straight ahead.


Likewise, no one whom I asked knew about the library's renovation cost and the cost of being a donor; but these staff members did point me to someone else who could possibly answer my question!


The lights were off in the men's washroom. It seems as if the washroom isn't used much. Inside the washroom, I noticed the automated sinks, urinals and paper towel dispenser -- that reminded me much of Hong Kong and South Korea; automation has arrived in America! In addition, I enjoyed the hot water flowing from the sinks. That was a pleasant surprise.


What impresses me the most about this library is the seating variety. There are not only many different types of seating furniture, but also many different environments in which these seats are placed: by windows; inside rooms; in seating areas; in corners. In addition, just as there were many different types of furniture looks, so there were, in fact, more broadly, many different, conspicuous areas in the library. They were clearly labeled to boot. In this way, this library shares its best feature with the City University of Hong Kong library: such a variety of learning spaces that surely one would find at least one type conducive toward studying. In this instance, I liked to study at the rectangular table in the cafe area. Many libraries, including the HKU library, could certainly improve its learning space by following the diversity model adopted by both the CityU library and the Livingston library.


What also makes this library conducive toward studying is its underuse. One could find a seat anywhere in the library: no squatting, thankfully. The shelves also seem underutilized. While on an individual basis, this surplus in seating is a boon, this surplus is lamentable for the community since it obviously isn't taking full advantage of this invaluable learning space!


I gushed about the effectiveness of the library's learning space to the staff. Perhaps they were amused that such a mundane environment to them could be so special to me.

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Taken on March 31, 2011