Excited about a Library

Posted in books, personal at 11:35 pm by danvk

One of the biggest things I miss about not being in school anymore is 24-hour access to a research library. Even though not everyone at Rice sang Fondren’s praises while we were there, we’re realizing that, in retrospect, it was pretty great. Not every university library is open 24 hours. A friend of mine recommended The Leviathan and the Air-Pump recently, and I set out to get a copy.

Fortunately for me, I discovered the MLK Jr. branch of the San Jose library system. (does anyone have more stuff named after him than that guy?) It’s a research library associated w/ San Jose State University, but it’s also open to the public. It had my book, and it also had the greatest math book ever. I don’t know how I’d feel about the public access if I were a SJSU student, but it’s perfect for me.

The library is brand-new and must have been designed by the same people that redid the first floor of Fondren, aka Spaceship Fondren. My favorite “feature” of the library: a giant ticker counting off the number of books that had been checked out from the library. It was up to about 46 million after three years of operation. I told the circulation people that they were ambitious: there was room for at least four more digits. At 15M books/year, it’ll take them 64 years to get to a billion, and just over ten times that to use all the digits. 660 years? I can think of some university libraries that have probably been around that long…

1 Comment

  1. danvk.org » Delicious Library said,

    October 21, 2006 at 12:25 am

    [...] Before I discovered the San Jose library, I had an idea for a 20% project at Google. Wouldn’t it be cool if every Google employee made a list of the books they owned and were willing to share? I doubt there’s any library that could beat the Google workforce in sci-fi or CS literature. The problem with this idea is that data entry is painful. I can’t imagine typing every single ISBN of all my hundreds of books onto a computer, let alone convincing other people to do it. Delicious Library turns this problem completely on its head. Not only does it make entering ISBNs easy, it makes it exciting. I wouldn’t have thought that was possible before discovering this program. [...]