In anticipation of a major renovation set for the Moffitt Undergraduate Library in 2015, the so-called Information Gateway on the third floor has already been transformed. The reference desk, print reference collection, and many tired beige PCs have been supplanted by 30 fast iMacs and lots of cool, cozy, and modern seating configured for laptop and tablet users (you can even borrow them there). The space is buzzing like never before, but what gives me the most pride as a librarian of seven years in the UC Berkeley Library is the decision to keep the bookshelves and do something utterly novel with them on a grand scale.
“The lounge is ringed by 2,000 new books on a wealth of subjects, attractively displayed in their book jackets, as in a bookstore, and available for check-out,” writes Cathy Cockell in the UC Berkeley Newscenter. What’s not mentioned is that these 2,000 books constitute nearly every book processed and cataloged for the Doe/Moffitt Libraries in a 3-4 week period. They are then arranged by Library of Congress classification for all to peruse before they are shelved indefinitely in the Main Stacks.
No new book goes undisplayed in the Moffitt Lobby, providing a unique opportunity for the library’s users to delight in the incredible spectrum of materials acquired in all subjects, from around the world, and across languages. These walls of books are a testament to UC Berkeley’s commitment to not only the printed book but also to the linguistic and cultural diversity of the planet, unfiltered by translation. From French books on African philosophy to 12-volume sets on the history of Thailand before 1782 in Thai to the orginal Dutch version of David Van Reybrouck’s Congo: een geschiedenis, there’s something for everyone. I commend the Library for putting its resources into this extra workflow that facilitates serendiptious discovery. This is Berkeley at its best as you can see for yourself in the Flickr slideshow!