This post is by Environmental Design Library librarian David Eifler; if you haven’t seen him, or his wonderful library (one of more than 25 on campus), you can check them out by joining him on this Virtual Tour.
While I was in high school, my small businessman dad came home one evening with a book. Although he had a natural curiosity and often read the encyclopedia for pleasure, I’d never seen him as excited about the written word as when he brought home The Last Whole Earth Catalog: Access to Tools – the one with the shadowed view of the “blue marble” on the cover. Now considered by many a precursor to the World Wide Web, it was a compendium of tools and books to improve the planet. Decades later, when I arrived to the Environmental Design Library (ENVI), I was pleased to find it and other editions in our collection. Librarian Elizabeth Byrne proudly told me that its author, Stewart Brand, had written a classic, How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built, while doing the research in our library.
So, I was thrilled when Brand contacted me in late November and asked if ENVI would accept approximately 200 books used to write How Buildings Learn. He’s working on a new book and needed to purge his library of volumes from past projects. The founder of the WELL (Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link) with Dr. Larry Brilliant (now a CNN COVID-19 expert) and CoEvolution Quarterly met me at his Sausalito office on a sunny December morning and gave me 11 boxes of architectural books. The Library got the books, and I had the great pleasure of meeting a national icon.