Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Agave Library, Phoenix Public Library, Arizona

Agave Library in Phoenix, Arizona is described by Louise Schaper May in Library Journal as one of the new icons in public libraries.

Agave Library - sign

When you are driving (walking or cycling) up to Agave Library this sign stands out blocks away.  It helps build a sense of excitement about visiting this library because this is a very dramatic library sign.  The sign is also welcoming, because you are coming to the library, this building which is making a statement is open to you, for free.  You can borrow items, you can use databases and other online resources, you can participate in library programming, use computers, collaborate, read...the list really goes on and on.  This amazing, beautiful space is yours, and it would be an incredible library to have as your local library.

Ceiling and computer area screening - Agave Library

Parts of the interior have an exposed, industrial look (as you can see in the ceiling here), and this works really well.  There is great use of colour (such as in the non-rigid divider), with seating, and with this shelving (below).

Resin shelving - Agave Library

It was great to see agaves featuring in the landscaping (reflecting the library name)
Agaves at Agave Library

and lovely outdoor spaces for the library as well
Outside sitting area - Agave Library
The library was obviously very well used, with people using the spaces in many different ways.   I visited the library shortly after it opened for the day, and already many people were making use of the spaces, and there was a packed children's event in progress. 

For some areas I did not take photographs because of the number of people using the library (as I did not want to intrude on their experience of their space - I was being a library tourist, this was their library).
Looking through the library - Agave Library

This is one of the most exciting libraries I have ever visited, because of how people were using the spaces, and because of the space and design.  It was a very beautiful library and it was a highly functional library.  It is one of several exciting libraries which I visited (while on holidays) in Arizona. 

Have a look at some of the photographs I took when I visited this very popular and well used library. 

You can see the whole set of photographs I took (or you can look at them here to read the descriptions as well).

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Workplaces, stories and creativity

I recently read Sunken treasure by Wil Wheaton.  The whole book is an amazing read, but I just want to focus on part of it, the Criminal minds production diary.  This account provides some great ideas about what makes an effective, high performance, creative and enjoyable workplace.  This chapter highlights the importance of teamwork, collaboration, creativity, openness, generosity, respect, organization and fun.  The success of television programs like Criminal minds is that they are very effective collaborations, and even with big name stars, it is not all about them, but about how everyone working together can produce an excellent piece of drama.  Collaboration is effective as it produces very exciting outcomes.

It is also great to read Wil Wheaton’s account of having to settle in to an established work place quickly.

The Big Outline

So, go and read Criminal minds production diary (a version of this can be found on Wil Wheaton's blog) and be inspired about effective, creative and collaborative work places as Wil Wheaton describes things far better than I can.  Think about what changes you can make in your work place to increase the importance of teamwork, openness, generosity, respect, organization and fun in a high performance work place – and do something about it.

Read the rest of Sunken treasure as well – just for fun.

Making it easy for people to find out about ...Tucson

In the Tucson Airport is this sign encouraging you to use your phone to download the tourist information for the area.

Tucson information

Just behind the sign were print copies of the local tourist information guide, but you did not see them, until after you had seen this great promotion about mobile information. It also worked well because one sign covered two purposes, you found out about the mobile guides, and the print guides were there as well.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


The #readit2011 theme for June was #goreads - as I was travelling during my holidays I read much less than usual.  Each of the books I read had traveling as part of their themes, but rarely in an orthodox way.

Brent Weeks The way of shadows was a stand out read - it was the second time I read it, but if anything I enjoyed it even more this time around. I really enjoy the way Brent Weeks drags you quickly into a story and then won't let you go. His writing is very dark, but it is filled with resilience, and the characters are encouraged to not give up hope, but also to seek to change.  His characters choose to act to make the best of the often very difficult circumstances they are faced with.

The two recipe books I read, Susan Nowak The beer cook book and Gumbo shop by Richard Stewart are great reads and I am already having lots of fun trying out recipes from them.

The rest of my reading was:
  • Mark Billingham Lazy bones Murders done for revenge - traveling about London
  • Clyde Lindsley Death of a mill girl Mill town killing with sinister links - New Hampshire, Ireland and New Orelans
  • Tony Hillerman Shape shifter Does personal justice have a place for police outside the law? Arizona
  • Margaret Coel The eagle hunter Exploitation and killing - Colorado
  • Victoria Thompson Murder on Bank Street Lies lead to murder - New York
  • Barry Maitland The Marx sisters Wonderfully twisting - London
  • Patrick Larkin The tribune - Corruption in the first century - Middle East
  • Quintin Jardine Thursday legends - Are the footballers really the link? Not for the squeamish - UK

goreads teacosy