With a recent $14 million renovation, the UI Main Library has been busier than ever. During a UIRA program at the Main Library Jan. 14th, head librarian John Culshaw discussed the future of libraries with a focus on changes at UI. About 60 persons attended the presentation, which included tours of the new Learning Commons and the Conservation Lab on the fifth floor. “Libraries are not going away,” Culshaw told the group. He noted that in December a total of 113,000 persons came into the Library. Demand for small group meetings far exceeded the available space, he said.

Culshaw, who came to Iowa in August 2013 from the University of Colorado, explained features of the room in which a standing-room crowd of 60 gathered. It is one of several TILE rooms. The letters stand for Transform, Interact, Learn and Engage. The room has five round tables with nine seats at each, three computers, microphones for class discussion, flat glass screens and walls that can serve as blackboards.

In the Conservation Lab, Library staff demonstrated methods of refurbishing books and efforts to restore Czech and Slovak Museum materials recovered from the Cedar Rapids flood. Attendees saw anumber of unusual books, such as a German children’s book (Das Sprechende Bilderbuch), printed in 1800. It has little string pulls on the side which, when pulled, emit barnyard animal sounds from squeaky toy mechanisms hidden in the “text block.”

A photo report of the program can be found at the UIRA website at https://uira.shutterfly.com/pictures/339#339, which also contains reports of earlier UIRA programs.