[PHOTOS] Daily RFT Finally Gets to See Refurbished Central Library for Ourselves
The old periodical room is also gone -- you can find local newspapers in magazines in the St. Louis Room and other periodicals in the same room as books on similar topics -- as is the Popular Library. Instead there's the Center for the Reader, which keeps all the most popular titles in one place.
In the next room, The Creative Experience, there are four collaborative pods. Barbara Knotts, the library's electronic collections manager, demonstrates how several people can plug in their laptops at once and then display images on the big screen and swap files via the touchscreen on the table. If you don't have a laptop of your own, the library will lend you a MacBook. Or an iPad, if you prefer.
There's also a recording studio, which isn't quite done yet. Several hundred miles of fiber optic cable have been threaded behind the existing walls to cover the entire building in WiFi signals. And there's an XBox 360 in the brand-new Teen Room.
And, finally, the old coal bin (which was so vast, it had to be navigated by miner cart) is now an auditorium with seating for 250:
Special collections, genealogy, history and travel have been moved up to space on the third floor that used to be staff offices. The genealogy room is the only room in the library where the library's creed of free access for all starts to break down. Genealogists, explains Pepi Parshall, the library's volunteer services coordinator, are obsessives and tend to "tunnel" and wander off, leaving their stuff behind. Hence, there was noticeably more theft in the old genealogy room than in the rest of the library. Now visitors have to be buzzed in.