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Cambridge Public Library stacks system

In the Cambridge main library (about to be renovated) there is an interesting structural system for the Stacks. The space is divided into four floors with a shelf support system that provides the structure for the flooring. It is all iron work; you can see through the floor to the next level. I was told that this system was pioneered in the Harvard Gore library built in 1840 and razed in 1913 to be replaced by the Widener. This implementation will be destroyed soon; they considered using the flooring on the ceiling of the young adults section which will be in the space currently occupied by the stacks but structural difficulties have ruled it out.


Gallery of stack pictures

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I am sure that many slapstick jokes have been committed in those stacks.

I think that former centuries were right when they considered air so important.

I hadn't realized they were getting rid of these stacks. I know when I first went in I found it extremely odd that I could see through the floor (and was glad not to be someone who wears stiletto heels), but now it says "library" to me. And it's very cool that the stacks themselves are structurally important.

Wow, I am definitely going to miss those stacks. I particularly love way in the back of the lowest level where they had this incredible collection of old F & SF books from the Sixties and Seventies--I bet they'll de-accession a lot of those in the process of "improving" the old dear. Ah well. Progress...

The last time I was down there (looking for parts of LeGuin's "Earthsea" series of which I couldn't find my own copies) there were books stuffed onto windowsills and into corners because they had run out of shelf space. For me, that kind of lessened the charm.

Wow. One of the UTatAustin libraries (in the main building) has this type of floor structure. Rather cool, I thought (as long as patrons don't have dog poop on their shoes).

Never thought of that. But one effect it has is that you can really hear people walking around on other floors, especially the floor immediately above.

I tended not to look too carefully through the floor, for fear of activating my acrophobia.

I'm going to be really interested to see how the new place works.

I never thought of what people might have on their shoes; my first thought was about whether someone could look up my skirt.

Oddly. that never occurred to me.

Well, I wear skirts most of the time.

By David Benedictus. You're a Big Boy Now. Thesexual awakening of a young man at a most ungodly hour

of interest regarding new york public library stacks...

> Do the pages really wear roller skates?
> Only in the Francis Ford Coppola movie You're a Big Boy Now. Most wear sneakers.
> http://www.nypl.org/research/chss/faq.html#skates
cambridge community chorus videographer peter kastner as bernard chanticleer

more images at

a notation of interest
check out boston public library stacks... contact jim baillie http://bpl.org/general/management.htm
and check out massachusetts state house library stacks http://mass.gov/lib
i recall using harvard widener library stacks
and visiting the Library of Congress stack for cooperatives and communism books

a note about library architect Rem Koolhaas
by paul goldberger. High-Tech Bibliophilia.

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