I hope to be able to say more on the “library on the move” project later this year; for now I am referring to a trip we made on 14-16 February 2011 to Geneva and Lausanne. We? The team (almost complete) working on the Library Learning Centre finished their transformation project end 2010 and as a last “get-together” we went to the learning centre of this decade (it opened February 2010): the Rolex Learning Centre in Lausanne. I made reference to this building in an earlier blog, and Thomas Guignard, who presented the building and his work to us last year, now guided us through the building on a quiet (holiday period) Wednesdaymorning. David Aymonin, Library director, Thomas and our team sat afterwards together to exchange experiences and library matter. It was a rewarding visit indeed!

Arriving a day earlier in Geneva, we had the opportunity to visit CERN, and had an ATLAS-tour. Outside it was raining, inside we were more or less drilled into physics lessons.
For me a step back into my engineering past and I had surprisingly much stored in the dark spaces of my mind. We did not get into the LHC-tunnel (of course), but we did see the “where the web was born” plaque.

We were delighted with the wonderful lunch in the CERN canteen; and we also got the chance to see the library, fighting for its spaces and much less interested in the physical appearance than we are (but digitally with the discipline’s ArXiV.org initiative of course far advanced).

Finally: the Rolex Learning Centre! The thing @moqub and I kept on discussing about afterwards was the amount of effectively-used space: approximately a fifth of the total amount of square metres! There is a function of course for the “hills” inside the building, being: an acoustic barrier between the open spaces, no sound of music there ;-). And then the sponsorship. Obviously the name comes from a sponsor, but half the building was made out of sponsormoney; quite an achievement!

I would not call the building colourful. I guess that the people should make the colour. There were “bulbs” of rooms or offices in the open spaces, often occupied (and they are very open about this!) by the sponsor companies. The library is part of the Learning Centre, which has a separate general manager. The Learning Centre entails a beautiful flexible congress space; however EPFL will have a new congress centre the coming 2 years, and a new teaching lab, to be established in 2016!
Essential for a learning centre is a learning café. Apart from this the Rolex also had a classy restaurant; in use during the lunch period at the day we visited. Other functionalities? A career centre, an alumni desk, a book shop, a bank (with two surface tables) …, and 900 study places (which is similar to what we have in Delft).
Of course we got a special library tour! Approximately 85% of staff do shifts at the information desk, to be and keep in direct touch with the clients. Visitors can scan books themselves (with a special scanner); all stocks are open, but the most frequently used ones are in the first line. I really liked the “science for all” section – in time small exhibitions on current topics will also be displayed there.


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