Located in Austin, Texas, the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library has won the Texas Society of Architects’ 25-Year Award for standing the test of time, having retained its character and architectural integrity since its completion in 1971. Designed by SOM, the library houses a collection of material from President Johnson’s entire political career. The 10-story, travertine-clad building’s signature space is its Great Hall, which prominently displays four floors of archival stacks that contain 45 million documents from Johnson’s term as President of the United States. An adjacent, monumental stairway leads visitors to an exhibit area, audio-visual displays, and an auditorium. The top story of the building features a reference library, various rooms and offices, a replica of the Oval Office, and a suite that was occupied by the President in his retirement.
since when do libraries have debt collectors?? my sister lost some books when we moved apparently because I just got a letter saying I owe the library $101.57 so now I have to fucking deal with that. I love libraries I feel personally attacked rn…
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center houses one of the most important collections of its kind in the world—a spectacular trove of musical scores, recordings, and books on theater, music, and dance. This public resource was envisioned by Lincoln Center’s board “to serve as a tool for education and as a creative stimulus for new performance.” Completed in 1965, SOM designed the building to contain general reading rooms, radio and television studios, conference and rare book rooms, an auditorium, and a children’s library and museum. Giant square concrete columns form a peristyle around the core of the building to create a temple-like pavilion, overlooking a reflecting pool with a sculpture by Henry Moore.
The morning after NYPD raided Zuccotti Park, Occupy librarians went to retrieve confiscated books.
I joined a small group in a nondescript foyer, where we took elevators up to the level where NYPD had dumped thousands of activists’ belongings. I was immediately warned, several times, by several officers, to not take photos and to put my camera away. I regret following those orders, but with the violence of the night before and the dizzying chaos around me, the threat of losing my camera was all too real. The sanitation garage was overwhelming. It was clear that NYPD meant destruction. NYPD meant to make chaos. NYPD meant to make things as difficult as possible for activists.
Possessions had not been kept in bags or the rainproof plastic boxes Occupiers routinely used for storage. NYPD had separated and sorted things according to type. Backpacks, most slashed and ripped, in one pile. Pants in another pile. Books in other piles. Shoes in another pile. You know that pile of shoes in the Holocaust Museum? There is something striking about the cruel efficiency of reducing a group of humans down to their categorizable possessions. I can’t not see one in the other.
The libraries’ computers were smashed. Hardshell protective cases cracked into three planes. One laptop resembled a section of children’s origami fortune-tellers, but made of stressed plastic and shattered glass.
Tents, slashed and broken.
The cops inside looked bored.
A dying pigeon flopped in the path of a garbage truck as it rolled past.
It became obvious what a joke that Bloomberg’s press photos of our well-protected books had been. The OWS library was gone. Most of it was gone. What we recovered that day was minimal, much of it water damaged or purposefully ripped or defaced. The pretty books, the ones in good condition that Bloomie threw the presser for? We figured that out when Occupiers started contacting librarians about how they got their bags back, and their books were missing. A woman contacted librarians saying her backpack had everything in it except for three books. She gave titles. We had at least two, not marked with OWS. All of the OWS books were marked with “OWSL” or “OWS.” Bloomberg and NYPD had stripped activists of their property in order to make it look like they hadn’t attacked a library.
We packed volunteers’ cars with crates of books, headed for storage.
When I went outside to take photos of the property leaving 57th Street, I wasn’t allowed back in. I was told to go to a main entrance on the other side of the building. I waited in line. The officers standing guard made me fill out a form that included my name, SSN#, address, phone and other intimate information. Clever activists listed their address as “Liberty Park.” They searched my bag and confiscated all of my pens and a utility knife before they’d allow me upstairs. Activists ahead of me in line were told that they had to provide an itemized list of their missing property, and would not be allowed to take anything that didn’t match their descriptions. It seemed reasonable until a woman was told she couldn’t reclaim her black size 8 ski pants unless she knew the brand name.
My friends at the foyer texted me and said they were about to leave, to get back there. I told the officers I no longer needed to go through the building again, and asked for my knife and pens. I lifted my sheet of identifying info off of the officer’s clipboard, since they wouldn’t be needing that. A friendly “community outreach” officer escorted me back towards the elevator foyer. He snatched the sheet of paper from me, smiled, and folded it up before shoving it in his pocket. They were keeping track.
“Look it’s great that you have a crush on me and all that, but the next time you return a book with the pages stuck together and it’s all sticky, I’m banning you from the library and calling the cops on you. I’m totally charging you for this book as well. That’s disgusting,” Kara said, narrowing her eyes at the man in front of her and shaking her head. She tossed the book to the side and started to type on the computer. “You owe the library “$17.95 on your next visit. Please go away now.”