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From The CriticsReviewer: Joy H Harriman, MBA, MLS (Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center)
Description: In her introduction, Connor states, "This book contains descriptive and practical information for...librarians who are planning to refurbish, renovate, or construct a library..." She delivers on her promise.
Purpose: A wide range of qualified librarians present thirteen tightly written case studies describing the setting, objectives, methods, results, conclusions of their unique project, and reviews the design of the completed library. The writing style is consistent, easy to follow, and clearly presents ideas, experiences, and the personality of the project under scrutiny.
Audience: Written for anyone interested in building or renovating a library, Connor has used her considerable experience to select cases and projects that reflect the broadest variety of situations anyone might encounter.
Features: Building or renovating is not always pleasurable: after the initial energy rush, the feeling of slogging through the high water of 'opportunities' becomes consistent and never-ending. The case studies presented here discuss each opportunity with innovation and patience, expressing the reality of experience and the significant pleasure of completion. These authors made choices and share the decisions and results with the reader. Their lessons are something not usually learned until after a project is completed. Learning from their experiences may reduce negative results. Without getting monotonous, the studies are detailed enough to leave the reader curious for more. The studies also include the origins and evolution of each library. That is interesting from a historical perspective and very interesting from an evolving profession perspective. These studies recount not only the developing physical facility but the developing use of information. The changing library building seems to have become the metaphor of a change oriented information culture.
Assessment: The case studies inform about the evolving nature of the librarian's profession. Each project may build a physical facility but it also reinforces that building, managing, and growing a library can only be done through people and communication skills. Regardless of the library's focus, it's the people who make it work.