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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Cerritos Millennium Library » User review

Cerritos Library

an interactive library inspired by Pine and Gilmore's Experience Economy

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Experience the Experience Library!

  • Jan 22, 2010
Rating:
+5
I have a homing beacon of sorts.  When out and about, my spidey-senses tingle and I can sense where the:

1) comic book stores
2) record shops
3) libraries

are at.

Libraries are easy.  Just find the municipal sign that says "LIBRARY" and the arrow below it.  It will probably point you in the right direction.

I always want to explore libraries.  And I'm really dorky bout it.  I examine how the stacks are arranged.  Why is the reference desk placed there?  What collections are they highlighting? and other nerdy etceteras.  When I was in London, the first thing we did, besides take photos of the UK versions of the Apple Mac vs. PC billboards at Heathrow was visit the BRITISH LIBRARY!  Which is impressive, and I wasted too much time in the museum and gift shop before they booted the jetlagged me out of the library.  A friend recently asked me, what is the best library I've been at, and Cerritos' Library is by far my favorite library.  

One of the Special Library Association sayings is "Think Like A Business.  Act Like A Library."  This one of the first library that truly embraces more entrepreneurial aspects to build a library that will not become irrelevant with emergent technologies.  By building a library space that focuses on becoming a destination spot rather than a dusty book repository [or DVD rental place as many public libraries are becoming],  this library uses the tenants of Experience Economics to build an interactive library, filled with sensory overload.

Reconstructed in the 2002, this $41 million library was the first all-titanium structure in the United States, according to Don Buckley, Cerritos Library Director.  Each space in the library has a theme.  At the main entrance, there is a television screen next to the elevator.  This television screen greets patrons with a "morning song" when patrons enter the library and according to Don Buckley, and at 9p when the library closes, the screen plays the Good Night, Farewell song from the Sound of Music.  Across from the fish tank is a "conseierge" type person that greets patrons and helps them find different parts of the library.  This is the start of the "Main Street" / "marketplace," which leads patrons to all of the different areas on the first level, including the gift shop where they sell Cerritos Library branded items like postcards; bookmarks; toys ... AND wine glasses!    




Walking through this library is like taking a journey in the history of information.  There is an audio-guided tour that patrons can listen to as they walk through the facility.  They have a clever little "time-travelling" theme.  

To the immediate right is the Old World Room where there are tall backed chairs are amongst copies of classic Literature [non-circulating] as well as the New Book collection.  The feel of this is room is of Classical Reading room with ornate furniture and a fireplace with a holographic image of fire.  There is a real sense of warmth as you sit by this fireplace as they pipe in "crackling fire" sound effects.

Then there is the Great Room, which features Stickley/Craftsman-inspired seating.  Here is a small collection of OPAC as well as general Internet use computers.  This is where the periodicals are.  If I remember correctly, I believe some of the chairs in this room were rocking chairs.

An Art Deco area is where the Young Adult collection as well as the Audiovisual Department.  There is another reading area above the Art Deco area and this is the [almost self-regulated] quiet-zone... good for studying.   

A journey up the escalator goes up to the 21st Century Reading Room.  Unlike the rest of the building, there is not a stick of wood in this area.  Everything is titanium looking, the ends of the stacks are lit up -- it looks futuristic.  The main collection is in the 21st Century Reading Room.  There are a few study rooms have names like the HG. Wells Room that continue with the time-travel motif. 

The most impressive thing of this floor is the massive collection of public computer stations.  They are spaced intentionally so that several users can collaborate around one computer.  




But by far the most impressive thing about this library is their Children's Department.  The entrance to the Children's Department is quite grand.  The first most impressive thing they see is the [MASSIVE] saltwater aquarium [ooh there's a tiger shark in there!]  The entrance features a "green screen" where patrons can be filmed against with changing backdrops [outer space, dinosaurs, ocean, etc].  The detail and care that went into developing the Children's department is outstanding.  




Once inside the Children's Department there are so many cool things to look at.  Above there is a dome that resembles the sky.  During a the day, the sky dome reflects the movement of sun within a 24-hour rotation.  




The third floor is for their meeting rooms and access to the Terrace.   

I've only glossed over some of the details of this library.  The great part is actually experiencing it.  There are little points of discovery in each department and throughout the library there is great art featured on the walls, like a Dale Chihuly piece above the Main "marketplace" towards the Great Room and Art Deco Room.

There are a few small minuses: 

The collection is in LC classification.  Most patrons, if they are familiar with the hundred divisions, know library collections by Dewey Decimal classification, and their collection is not big enough to justify a Library of Congress classification.

The lighting in some areas are dim, particularly the Children's Dept.  It is intentional since lighting needs to be lower in order for the special features [like the Sky Dome] to have their full effect.  But patrons will have no problem finding a lighting source since almost every seat is equipped with an Ethernet port and lighting fixture.

When this library first opened, a lot of people were deterred by the fact that if you are not a resident of Cerritos there is a $100 library card fee.  But ... but there is a big stipulation.  If you are a resident of a city within the MCLS cooperative, you can get a library card for free.  That's how I got my library card -- for FREE!  This is my favorite library card out of all the library cards I have ever gotten since they take your photo when they issue it.

Click here to find out if you're a resident of a MCLS participating library.
New Cerritos Millennium Library The entrance to the Children's Department

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August 18, 2010
WOW! This is an amazing library. I remember being impressed with SF's public library...but wow...this puts it to shame. I would so pay the $100 for a card if I lived near enough to use it. Wonderful review!
August 19, 2010
I have STILL yet to go to SFPL! I want to check that out. I think I've only checked out one book with my Cerritos lib card... but it is one of the best looking library cards I have.
August 20, 2010
Let me know what you think when you do. I was impressed. It's my favorite library out of all the ones I've been to. I don't go or own a library card from there anymore purely because I moved from the area, but it left a lasting impression. :)
August 20, 2010
I know someone who works at SFPL! so I SHOULD go. Next time I'm up there... I'll make a point to go there. I'll letcha know what I think... I hope I can apply for a library card there. :D
August 20, 2010
I'm pretty sure anyone can with a mailing address regardless of where you reside. I didn't live in SF at the time, and I could get one for free.
August 20, 2010
That's how it's been with the public libraries I've worked at... but every once in a while, some lib will have a strange registration policy. I guess I'll find out when I try to apply for one.
 
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About the reviewer

Ranked #104
As library paraprofessional for my adult working life, I have worked in academic libraries, public libraries, in the dungeons of cataloging departments, on the front lines of circ ... and occasionally … more
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The Cerritos Library, the New Cerritos Library, or the Cerritos Public Library is the civic library for the City of Cerritos, California. It was rededicated on March 16, 2002 with the new moniker and the current futuristic design. It was the first building to feature an exterior clad with titanium panels in the United States. It boasts to be the first "Experience Library" and focuses on themed spaces, high quality art work, and inspirational architecture rather than being another library in the traditional sense.

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