Children's LiteraturePyramid, cathedrallibrary? Yes, the story of the construction of the new Central Library in Minneapolis has as much drama as any of the great sagas of building. The third central library in Minnesota's largest city, this glowing glass lantern is the result of input from many sources; from the architect, Cesar Pelli, to librarians, citizens, and patrons of all ages. As the story unfolds, young readers can observe the materials being used: huge but elegant cement pillars, yellow Minnesota limestone, acres of etched glass, and a cantilevered steel wing. Teens will envy Teen Central, a glass cube hanging over the street with red shelves and puffy purple and green seats, to say nothing of books, CDs, DVDs, and games. Vogel offers some library history, too, including pictures of the city's first neo-Romanesque library and information about library heroes Benjamin Franklin, Melvil Dewey, and Andrew Carnegie. Interviews with a city council member, a librarian, and an architect add texture to the telling, while abundant color photos of the construction show equipment, workers (among other tasks, exercising to warm up for the arduous day's work), and some tricky maneuvering needed to assemble a complex and unusual edifice. The crowning touch is a planetarium, still under construction. This documentary would be perfect for lovers of David Macaulay's architecture books and newer ones like Hopkinson and Ransome's Sky Boys (Schwartz & Wade, 2006) about building the Empire State Building. There is a good glossary and lists of books and web sites about other U.S. and world libraries. 2007, Millbrook, Ages 12 up.
Barbara L. Talcroft