Those of you over a certain age may remember when searching for math resources meant going to the library and perusing the subject catalog, spending time in shelving sections devoted to a topic, or leafing through heavy volumes of math reviews. Along the way, you found things you did not expect, leading to further trails and discoveries. You might remember musty smells, occasional hushed sounds, dark lighting, and the heft and texture of the volumes. There was a feeling of timelessness and escape from the real world in a library.
Today libraries seem quite different. Science and math libraries have well-lit, large spaces filled with tables and power outlets, conducive to sitting with a laptop and connecting to web-based resources with hardly a book in sight. Many hard copy books are available only by special order, and browsing is now almost completely digital.
What do you feel are the pros and cons of new library designs? How do today’s libraries affect the way you browse for books?
Your comments are welcome!
Featured Book of the Day
A Mathematical Gallery by Lisl Gaal
This book started as a picture book by mathematician and artist Lisl Gaal for her children and grandchildren. The illustrations depict whimsical creatures and settings juxtaposed with simple yet far-reaching mathematical ideas that appeal to every age group. Readers are encouraged to explore and understand at their own level and pace. A child of any age could read and re-read this book for years, picking up new insights each time.
(Supplementary text is included for educators and advanced readers.)