Livingston enjoys new library branch
livingston parish news - may 19th
The new $4 million parish library in Livingston, officially opening June 1, is almost twice the size of the old library, and full of innovative features.
The new facility at 20390 Iowa Street is 18,000 sq. ft. and sits on 5 acres, according to Director Giovanni Tairov.
Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. The library is closed on Sundays.
Library officials put aside money for years so the new facility could be constructed without making interest payments on borrowed funds, Tairov said.
The building was designed with the maximum number of windows and the minimum number of interior walls. It differs from traditional libraries not only in its open design, but also by offering information technology training for all ages and hands-on activities for children.
A long, narrow reading section with high ceilings and comfortable armchairs sits in the mid-section, between tall north-facing windows and chest-height shelves for periodicals.
A central corridor separates this adult reading area from the circulation desk and the children’s section. Low shelving units and an archway set the children’s area apart.
The Smart Table, a horizontal computer screen surface, sits only a few feet off the floor in the children’s area. It is surrounded by small, soft, seating cubes—clear signs that this high tech learning resource is suitable for pre-schoolers.
One of the many Smart Table activities allows little fingers to reconfigure computer images of geometrical shapes. Other games are more structured and activate a voice.
Very young children can use the Smart Table to develop skills that will help them learn to read, learn to use a computer, make logical inferences and prepare them for understanding mathematical relationships, Tairov said.
A room on the south side of the children’s section is dedicated to arts, crafts, painting, and activities such as puppet shows. It has built-in supply cupboards and a sink for cleaning up.
Small scale tables and chairs occupy the children’s open area, and a “tackable” green wall forms one of its boundaries.
The central corridor, with an art gallery on one side, leads west into the adult section with new research resources, two reference librarians and a genealogy section.
The teen area lies beyond the adult area, at the far western end of the library.
In addition to young adult books, it includes a comfortable reading area and two study rooms that can accommodate groups of four working on the same project.
A multi-purpose public meeting space, equipped with a ceiling-mounted projector and a large pull-down screen, occupies the far eastern end of the library. This public space is separated from the rest of the library by a wood and glass wall and by the lobby, so meetings will not disturb quiet work, Tairov said.
A digital information display in the lobby takes the place of a bulletin board and conventional signs.
A large receptacle outside the main doors allows books to be returned when the library is closed. During open hours, books can be dropped into chutes for efficient sorting and a prompt return to the shelves.
Tairov said he and other library officials worked with Stephen Jackson of Cockfield Jackson architects and Labarre Associates to design a facility that would be both attractive and functional for a variety of age and interest groups.
The old 7,000 sq. ft. main branch of the parish’s library system, on U.S. 190 in Livingston, is being renovated for offices serving the parish-wide library system, and behind the scenes services.
“We have been leasing space for our cataloging department. After the renovation, we will be able to consolidate cataloging with computer services and administrative functions,” Tairov said.
Now that the Iowa Street library is complete, money that was going into a building fund can be used to expand book collections and other resources at all branches, Tairov said.
Residents are using Livingston Parish libraries more every year.
In 2011, a total of 496,611 came through the doors of all the libraries combined, up from 434,000 in 2010, Tairov said.
Circulation numbers continue to climb, with 464,000 “check-outs” in 2011, an increase of 15,000 over 2010.
More people are coming to local libraries looking for reference materials. Local libraries had 77,000 reference “transactions” in 2011, up from 52,000 in 2010, Tairov said.
The libraries also present programs, attended by 19,140 people of all ages last year.
The libraries held 536 programs for children last year; 453 programs for adults, and 197 for teens, Tairov said.
Location: Livingston, LA
Posted: May 21, 2012