The New Downtown Library: Designing with Communities by Shannon MatternThe New Downtown Library: Designing with Communities by Shannon Mattern

The New Downtown Library: Designing with Communities

byShannon Mattern

Hardcover | February 23, 2007

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The past twenty years have seen a building boom for downtown public libraries. From Brooklyn to Seattle, architects, civic leaders, and citizens in major U.S. cities have worked to reassert the relevance of the central library. While the libraries’ primary functions—as public spaces where information is gathered, organized, preserved, and made available for use—have not changed over the years, the processes by which they accomplish these goals have. These new processes, and the public debates surrounding them, have radically influenced the utility and design of new library buildings. In The New Downtown Library, Shannon Mattern draws on a diverse range of sources to investigate how libraries serve as multiuse public spaces, anchors in urban redevelopment, civic icons, and showcases of renowned architects like Rem Koolhaas, Cesar Pelli, and Enrique Norton. Mattern’s clear and careful analysis reveals the complexity of contemporary dialogues in library design, highlighting the roles that staff, the public, and other special interest groups play. Mattern also describes how the libraries manifest changing demographics, new ways of organizing collections and delivering media, and current philosophies of librarianship. By identifying unifying themes as well as examining the differences among various design projects, Mattern brings to light the social forces, as well as their architectural expressions, that form the essence of new libraries and their vital place in public life.Featured libraries are located in Brooklyn, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Nashville, New York, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Francisco, Seattle, and Toledo.Shannon Mattern is assistant professor of media studies and film at The New School.
Shannon Mattern is assistant professor of media studies and film at The New School.
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Title:The New Downtown Library: Designing with CommunitiesFormat:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 10 × 7 × 0.7 inPublished:February 23, 2007Publisher:University of Minnesota PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0816648964

ISBN - 13:9780816648962

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"An intriguing paradox of the digital age and the shrinkage of space that has accompanied it is the large-scale investment that has been made in recent decades in the physical library. In The New Downtown Library Shannon Mattern expertly unpacks this unexpected renaissance in the design and construction of big city-center public libraries that has occurred in the wake of the suburbanizing, centrifugal impulses of mid-twentieth century urban planning. Mattern approaches the subject with considerable analytical sophistication, basing her discussion on the theory that meaningful explanations of material culture should be derived from investigations into social forms. This book is a ‘must read’ text for anyone studying the modern library world, local cultural services, or the architecture of cultural institutions." —Alistair Matthew Black