Ah, yes--nothing says the vita contemplativa like the sight of sweating bodies on a treadmill. It's interesting that a mega-espresso machine is mandatory for new libraries but books are more or less optional, just one sideshow "attraction" among the rest. But at least this one does have books:
Any new library building will have hissing espresso machines, padded chairs, and noisy study areas. But what does one make of a library with an art gallery, a restaurant, and open forum space that can seat at least 700 people? How about treadmills, exercise bikes, and rowing machines as well?
. . . Among those attractions, on a balcony overlooking the forum, is the exercise equipment—ellipticals, bikes, rowing machines. "We'll see how much they are used," Mr. Ungar says. "It's a gamble—something I insisted on, because I think that if we are going to have a place where you can do everything, exercise should be part of it."
There is also a studio for the campus radio station, classrooms, a commuter lounge with a full kitchen, a unisex bathroom with a shower, along with all of the usual trappings of a traditional library: circulation and reference desks, study spaces, computer labs, and a prominent space for the display and preservation of special collections.
The stacks are one of the first things people see when approaching the building from the road, with the candy-colored shelves—blue, yellow, red—and quiet study areas clearly visible inside. It's an intentional placement, meant to signal that books still hold a prominent place in the building, despite all the other attractions.
On the other hand, this does kill two birds with one stone: instead of a brisk walk outside to wake you up when you get all dozy reading in the stacks, you can get on a treadmill and get the brain cells moving again, or refuel with industrial-strength coffee.