Tag Archives: libraries

Wanderlist #3 Liyuan Library

This library is a temple, inside a meditative forest.

Living in New York has its big-city annoyances, like getting elbowed in the back while riding the train, getting splashed with dirty rain water when a cab speeds over a puddle, or finding a nice table at a cafe to dive into a good book — only to have the barista turn on an old Might Mighty Bosstones album to distract you from your moment of zen. When I heard about this small library, on the outskirts of Beijing, it fit my fantasy of a quiet place to sit down with a book and read.

Beijing, China, is more than thirteen times the square-mileage of New York with millions more people. How does one find solitude in a city that size? Wouldn’t it be nice to leave the big city for just a few hours and meditate with a book?

Liyuan library is shaped like a box and is small, around 1,900 square feet. It’s clad in firewood, sourced from the forest it stands in, which filters the natural light that streams into the library. The interior’s cascading floor creates private reading nooks. The steps of the giant staircase do double duty as shelving, and are laid out with seat cushions. Book cases cascade too, and no book looks out of reach.

I read that visitors are encouraged to bring three books to drop off and leave carrying away one. I’d be curious to see what travelers have left. To protect the floors visitors are asked to remove their shoes. My dream would be to have the entire library to myself with a cup of tea, warm socks, and a stack of interesting reads, perhaps about travel.

Most of the information I found about Liyuan library was about its architecture. I’d love to know more about the collection or Beijing library culture in general. If you know of any good resources feel free to comment or contact.

A photo posted by Brian (@mrbrian88) on

A photo posted by Helen (@herenguh) on

A place for quiet reflection in the heart of the mountain #LiYuanLibrary #????

A photo posted by Helen (@herenguh) on

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April Wrap up

Robert Dawson

Here’s some of what I was reading last month. Happy (very) belated May!

NPR previewed a book of library photography by Robert Dawson. There is a lot more to America’s public libraries than the iconic Beaux-Arts buildings and marble lions in New York. The photos look like location shots for the next Wes Anderson film.

“Life is a walk in the dark.” I’ve listened to this amazing James Baldwin interview with Studs Turkel three times and counting. Baldwin would have turned ninety this April. To mark the event Brooklyn Rail discussed his legacy.

A team of experts finds that a papyrus know as the “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” is likely not a forgery. The scrap is given thumbs up but remains controversial.

The NYC Municipal Archive added 30,000 images to their online collection. Last year I made a short tutorial for finding images of what your apartment looked like in the 70s.

Rare snapshots from Kansas City’s 1960s Drag Scene are where grunge meets glam way before either broke out.

In case you need one more reason to bring classes to the archives: this student found a letter written by Martin Luther King Jr.

The Museum of Natural History announced a major digitization project. The museum’s collections have been strikingly unavailable to the public until now. The museum plans to put one million images online.


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February Wrap Up

new manifesto newlights press

Here are a selection of the articles I bookmarked last month:

This Crain’s article revealed how a library renovation is bringing hope to local businesses and eateries that need to attract patrons in Queens, NY.

Speaking of Queens, History Pin showed up in Long Island City and helped digitize some local historical photographs.

People are using data analysis to show interesting relationships. Ed Summer’s data visualization shows how many times each Paris Review interview appears on Wikipedia.

Is the literary world elitist? Maybe the question shouldn’t be IS but WHY?

Carl Sagan’s wonderful response letter to everyone’s favorite astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Cities start early bidding for the Barack Obama Presidential Library.

An Interview with Elena Bulat, a photo conservator. “I have my own favorite set [of] scalpels that might be used by an orthodontist.”

Test how fast you read! Tip: don’t rush

Photo: The New Manifesto of Newlights Press spotted this month at Berl’s Poetry Shop in DUMBO Brooklyn. “Book are more than text…”


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