Charles Library Construction

Libraries Old and New

posted in: Photography | 0

I have been working at Temple University Libraries for nearly a year. One of the appeals of the position when I interviewed late spring of 2018 was the fact that they were in the process of building a new library. I have done a lot of things during my 27(!) years working in libraries, but I have never been involved in a move to a new building.

As of this writing, we’re about 2 weeks away from opening. It’s been an interesting year watching Charles Library move toward completion and Paley Library packing up to migrate across the street.

I’ve taken opportunities to take some pictures of both ends of the process, and it’s hard to believe the significant changes. Working there everyday, I see the incremental progress, but looking back at my pictures makes me realize how much work has been done.

The earliest picture I have of the construction is one I took with my Samsung Galaxy S9+ last August when I was on campus for some HR paperwork.

Charles Library Construction
Charles Library Construction

And I took a few more at the end of September and early October after starting my new job. As always, you can click on any image to open a gallery.

In November, I bought my Olympus TG-5 mainly for our trip to Montreal. I had gotten it just a few days before our travels, and brought it to work one day to practice with it. I tried to get more variety in my views of the new building.

I didn’t take any pictures during the winter because winter, but when spring rolled around, I started taking pictures with my film cameras.

Mid-March, I took a couple of pictures with my Minolta XE using Fuji Color Pro 400H.

A couple of weeks later, I brought my Canon EOS Rebel 2000 to take pictures all around campus, and, of course, included some pictures of Charles Library. This time, I used Ilford Delta 400 Professional.

I didn’t take anymore pictures until June, and the new library was noticeably more complete-looking from the outside. I used my Minolta XE again and tested a then new-to-me 35mm lens. I also used Kodak Portra 160 which I had never used before.

I haven’t taken more photos of Charles Library since it really hasn’t changed much from the outside the past few weeks other than some landscaping. The building is usually surrounded by fence so getting good shots of the grounds is a bit tough. I figure at this point, now that we’re a couple of weeks away from opening, I’ll just wait to have full access to take more pictures.

Of course, the opening of a new library means the closing of the old Samuel Paley Library. Although I’ve been working there under a year, it feels really strange to be moving out. Since I’ve been working in libraries in Philadelphia for all but 4 of those 27 years, I was familiar with Paley Library and had been there several times for various meetings and events.

I took a couple of my favorite shots of Paley the day I had my Canon EOS Rebel 2000 with me.

As soon as exams were done in early May, Paley closed and the move began. During May and June, I took several photos just with my Samsung.

Some of the more interesting (to me) photos of the demise of Paley were the ones I took with my Olympus OM-1 with Retropan Soft 320 film. I had never used Retropan before and my local photo place was not able to develop it so I had to send it off to Richard Photo Lab.

I probably should have been documenting the move a little more thoroughly, but once the building started emptying out, I couldn’t bring myself to take many pictures of the sad-looking interior. I did take one more photo of the nearly empty shelves with my phone.

The Closing of Paley Library
The Closing of Paley Library

Perhaps needless to say, but there’s a lot of excitement and some anxiety about the big move. Hopefully, the transition will go smoothly, and I’ll soon be posting new, up-close photos of Charles Library.

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