Buildings and Landscapes

February 3, 2009

The 60 or so submissions for this year's Library Design Showcase. The beginning of February also means the beginning of Facilities season at AL. The Library Design Showcase in the April issue is one of the largest individual articles of the year, and with the deadline for submissions passing yesterday, the bulk of the work on this end starts now. AL editors and designers will meet soon to select the projects and the photos that will be included in the showcase; from there, it's a relatively straightforward process of pulling as much information about each project as possible into a few sentences. In addition to the print Facilities issue, we are also planning a second AL digital supplement, the better to showcase your success stories. Of course, the library building itself isn't the only part of a new building or renovation project. Retired librarian Gary Huggens recently wrote with the suggestion that we incorporate more coverage of library gardens and landscapes. "Since I am now a landscape designer who is especially interested in creating wildlife habitat and sustainability in landscapes, I thought this kind of news (and pictures) would be a wonderful thing for AL to collect from libraries nationwide to share with everyone in the profession. It would help transplant ideas from one library to many other libraries, and help to promote better environmental stewardship by libraries in their communities and on their own turf, so to speak." In last year's showcase, there were a few mentions of interesting landscape features, and many of the external photographs naturally showed some of the green spaces around the libraries. But the lawns and gardens were never the focus. So from there, I ask you: Should they be? Are you interested in reading more about library landscapes, gardens, and wildlife habitats? And if so, what do you want to see? I'd also welcome hearing your successes or lessons learned, either in comments or by e-mail to I'll start it off with one bit of advice from Huggens: "I'd imagine that even in these budget-strapped times most libraries could count on volunteers and local plant centers or nurseries to give their landscapes a boost with native plants and sustainable approaches, which save money and time."


Ingrid Law interview

Just one day before winning a Newbery Honor for her book "Savvy," author Ingrid Law sat down with Booklist and spoke about the origin of the term, how she wanted to write a book about magic without the word "magic," talking to children about their own secret powers, and the how librarians inspire her. Bonus: Law also gives us a sneak peak of her next book, a sequel to "Savvy."