Sunday, July 08, 2007

Library: An Unquiet History by Matthem Battles (19)

The new libraries of the earlier twentieth century, however, hid away the books. Rendering them accessible only staff employing the latest technology: telephones, conveyor belts, elevator. The cover of the May 27, 1911, issue of Scientific American showed a cutaway view of the stacks of the New York Public Library, then newly opened. The view shows the all-male staff bustling among the shelves below floor level, sending volumes to the delivery room via a complex network of shafts and booklifts. Beyond the delivery room windows sit the blissfully browsing readers, unaware of the machinery employed to bring them their reading material.

Page 202.

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