Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Welcome to the new Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam! [Amsterdam Public Library]

Who would have thought a library can be so comfortable just like our living rooms at home? Comfortable enough to slouch back in a lazy chair and rest while reading a book, or lie down on a settee and listen to your favorite music, or perhaps watch a film, and later have afternoon coffee or tea with apple tart and watch the beautiful view of old Amsterdam center.

These playful modern lamps light the education-childrens section which is located in the lower level, in principle the open basement. On the foreground are computers for free internet use (ground level). Foto taken from the escalator in the main lobby.

You can combine all these in Amsterdam’s new public library! I was just there last week and spent a whole afternoon reading a book about networking that I bought from Amazon in preparation for my new job. I wanted a place where it is conducive for studying because I am always easily diverted to doing non-productive activities at home and elsewhere. Great timing as the public library in Amsterdam is brand new. The library just opened last year in July, and it is simply IMPRESSIVE and AMAZING!

Foto on the left is the lobby of the library looking up to the themes of each floors with its lighted signs. Foto on the right is a glass floor art (and a sculpture behind the escalator) at the ground level with kids playing.

This is a foto taken on the 4th level - theme: art & history, at the back from where I sat (I was facing Amsterdam’s old centrum and in front of me are huge high-ceilinged glass panels).

It is modern and artistic showcasing new styles of art and design in its interior and furnishings; comfortable – the chairs and sofas are so functional and soft, your cares will go away and you could fall asleep in them; spacious - 10 levels with a café (La Place restaurant) and an open terrace offering gorgeous views of Amsterdam (when weather permits); high-tech – MAC computers linked to the internet in every floor and there is an exclusive floor for multimedia-music, films, and documentary; lots of light, and windows are high and wide; there is a children’s section that looks like a childcare center; and much more...

Here are some of the facts and figures I managed to get from their website (source: Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam)

- 28,000 square meters
- 10 floors
- 200 personnel
- 84 hours per week open: 7 days per week, 12 hours per day from 10AM to 10PM
- 1,000 seats (600 with PC’s/internet/MS Office
- Quick reference counter with information personnel
- 5 information counters with experts
- 5 special collections (Amsterdam-, Boudewijn Buch-, IHLIA-, Toonkunst- & Jazz collection)
- 6 squares/plazas
- 50 multimedia workplaces
- 110 terminals for individual search/check on the library catalogs
- 8 library loan machines and self-service counters
- 11 print and copy facilities
- Payment through debit card and chip card
- 1 Gerard Reve Museum
- 1 Library Museum
- Library theater with 270 seats
- 1 Kids theater for 40 seats
- Auditorium for 50 seats
- A theater called ‘Theater van’t Woord’
- 4 meeting rooms for 25 to 60 seats
- 1 meeting area
www.oba.nl = open 24/7
- 1,200 car parking places
- 2,000 bike stalls with camera
- Easy access from/to trains, bus, tram, metro, bike and car

Very cosy nook to curl up and read a favorite book! Next foto you can see the squared leather settees (they are soft and you can lay down on them) with screen MAC PCs in the Multimedia level.

If you are in Amsterdam, visit the Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam and I am sure you will enjoy a one of a kind library experience like I did. It was indeed a surprise and I left the library with so much enthusiasm, I just have to blog it and spread the word.

My view from my very comfortable chair (I actually fell asleep in it for 15 minutes, lol). It was late in the afternoon and my camera was against the sun so this foto is not the best representation of the breathtaking view of Amsterdam as promised in this entry and in the OBA website.

Location is about 5-10 minutes walk from Amsterdam Centraal Station in Oosterdokseiland. It is just right across the Sea Palace (floating pagoda Chinese restaurant) before reaching NEMO, the green funky building that looks like a chef’s hat, ship, or whatever you think it could be!

Also, the whole Oosterdok Island (Oosterdokseiland) is a new project of Amsterdam called ODE that will showcase a new side of the city, modern architecture buildings offering a new way of living and doing business that will provide breathtaking views of Amsterdam’s old center and the IJ River.

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