Perhaps that judgment is unfair. It’s better to say that the outdoors is a great improvement over the parking lot surrounding the old branch in the strip shopping center. Handsome lanscaping has replaced most of the paved area that surrounded the old post office that preceded the new library branch at this site. There’s shady seating outdoors with comfortable chairs and capacious tables. The picture here shows a portion of the outdoor amphiteater, which is a pleasing touch. Additional snaphots show more about the surroundings.
Indoors, the library seems to have fewer books, both for adults and for children. Space is ample at computer work-stations, and there are many; space is cramped for those trying to see books on the shelves or to select DVDs or CDs to borrow. Among the bookshelves, there’s room for one, not-large person in each aisle, with not much, if any, space for one library patron to pass another. Where CDs and visual media are stored, when a tray or drawer is open on one side of a row, there’s no room to open one on the other side.
Today, there was a line at the service desk, and only two of three self-service devices were working. Meeting rooms for community use seem to be pleasant. The restrooms are near the entry. I hope that this does not become one of the branches where patrons must request a key to use them. The magazine-swap has survived. There’s much availability of natural light. The acoustics, however, are very busy, and I noticed that some people were having difficulty understanding what others were saying.
The new branch is in a much better location for those west of Congress than the old one was, but the old one was at the crossroads of close-in South Austin. We’re all happy to benefit again from a South Austin branch. The new one took much longer to be ready than expected, and the old one was closed for months before this one finally opened, last weekend.
Here’s what the City says about the new Twin Oaks branch library.